Yesterday the Rockies chose Walt Weiss as their new manager, deciding not to hire Jason Giambi for the job after interviewing the still-active 41-year-old first baseman.
Giambi has said previously that he’d like to continue playing if he didn’t land the manager gig, but today general manager Dan O’Dowd told Troy Renck of the Denver Post that the Rockies are hoping Giambi will consider becoming their hitting coach.
“We consider him a Rockie, we hope this is the spot he will consider,” O’Dowd said. “He was very impressive in his interview for the manager’s job.”
Renck indicates that the Rockies would want Giambi to retire as a player if he accepted the hitting coach job and they’re unlikely to be interested in re-signing him strictly as a player. So, basically, if he wants to keep playing it would have to come elsewhere, but if he’s ready to retire the Rockies have an immediate spot on the coaching staff waiting for him.
Giambi going from first baseman to hitting coach while working under a first-time manager with no professional coaching experience who was coaching a high school team when the Rockies called him sure would be interesting. For at least one year, anyway.
The Athletics have hired former MLB manager Matt Williams, the team announced Friday. Williams will take over third base coaching duties under manager Bob Melvin, filling the vacancy left by Nationals’ bench coach Chip Hale after the 2017 season.
Williams is no stranger to the Bay Area, but this will be his first time sporting the green and gold. He got his start in pro ball with the rival Giants in 1987, where he manned third base and collected four All-Star nominations before jumping ship to the American League in 1997. After a one-year stint in the Indians’ organization, he returned to the NL to finish off his 17-season career and eventually hung up his cleats with the Diamondbacks in 2003.
Post-retirement, Williams has crafted a resume that almost over-qualifies him for a coaching gig. He led the Nationals to a cumulative 179-145 record from 2014 to 2015 and earned props as NL Manager of the Year after bringing the team to a first-place finish in 2014. In 2016, he split the season as a first and third base coach in the D-backs’ organization, then accepted a studio analyst position with the Giants for the 2017 season. Although he has yet to suit up for the Athletics in any role, he’s not unfamiliar with skipper Bob Melvin. The two were teammates on the Giants’ 1987-88 roster and spent some time in Arizona together when Melvin took a coaching job there in the early 2000s.
While next year’s reunion will be fun to watch (unless, I suppose, you’re a Giants fan with a long memory), Williams may not have his sights set on a coaching role forever. As the San Francisco Chronicle’s John Shea reported back in July, the 51-year-old knows what it feels like to win as a manager, and it’s a position he might be open to pursuing in the future.
“For me, my most comfortable space is in uniform,” he told Shea. “I’ve done the ownership thing and front-office stuff, and that’s fun. The most gratification I get is swinging a fungo and throwing batting practice and being on the field. It’s what you know and love. I look at myself as a teacher first and foremost. At the end of the day, I think that’s how I have my greatest influence.”