Walt Weiss better have a good first year as Rockies manager

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Here’s an interesting little twist to the Rockies announcing Walt Weiss as their new manager last night: He got a one-year contract.

“I am not motivated by the terms of contract,” Weiss told Troy Renck of the Denver Post. “I am just focused on the job.”

Of course it’s easy to say that now, on literally Day 1 of the job and after going from high school coach to MLB manager, but it’s very rare for a manager–even a first-time manager–to not be given a multi-year contract.

Mike Redmond just got a three-year deal from the Marlins and last offseason the White Sox gave Robin Ventura a three-year deal and the Cardinals gave Mike Matheny a two-year deal with a third-year option. They were all hired as first-time MLB managers.

Renck notes that Weiss wasn’t actively looking for a job when the Rockies called him last month and has never even coached in professional baseball, but former coaches and teammates are effusive in their praise of his leadership skills and ability to command respect.

Still, taking over a last-place, 98-loss team on a one-year contract is a helluva challenge.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.