Jason Giambi turned down the Rockies’ offer to become a hitting coach, so today Colorado hired Dante Bichette to fill the job instead.
Troy Renck of the Denver Post talked to Giambi about why he decided against retiring as a player to begin a coaching career and the former MVP said “the timing wasn’t right” and first-year manager Walt Weiss having to work on a one-year contract played a part:
I really thought about it and if Walt had gotten more than a year on his contract maybe it would have been different. But I felt that he needed to get a foothold and have total focus and commitment from the guys. He really deserves it. If the team doesn’t start out the way they want, and I am in the background looming, it could be a PR nightmare. I am not that kind of human being.
That’s interesting, especially since Giambi has made it clear that he definitely wants to coach at some point and, at age 41, he’s nearing the end of the line as a player even if it sounds like he’ll be able to find a part-time/bench gig for 2013.
In giving Weiss a one-year deal the Rockies insisted that it was a non-story and didn’t represent a lack of commitment to someone with no professional coaching or managing experience, but it’s hard not to connect those dots and now the lack of a multi-year deal has had other ramifications.
All of which made me wonder about this scenario: What if Weiss does poorly in his first year and the Rockies decide to go in another direction after the season. Would they turn to Giambi, who interviewed for the manager job before Weiss was hired? And if so, would Giambi accept the job or would his aforementioned respect for Weiss keep him from doing so?
Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News reports that the Giants have signed catcher Nick Hundley. It’s a major league deal worth $2 million.
Hundley, who is 33, but who seems like he’s been in the bigs for about 27 years, hit .260/.320/.439 with 10 homers in 83 games for the Rockies last season. Obviously he will be the backup given the presence of Buster Posey.
Major League Baseball has experienced inconsistent progress in its efforts at promoting diversity and social responsibility in recent years despite making it a league priority. Today it has announced several changes in its leadership structure in these areas, with Commissioner Manfred saying, “As the sport of Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente, we have a responsibility to uphold and honor their legacies, especially in ensuring that our sport and business practices are as inclusive, diverse and socially-conscious as possible.”
To that end:
- Billy Bean has been promoted to Vice President and Special Assistant to the Commissioner. This is a newly-created and elevated position in which Bean will continue his efforts at promoting human rights issues important to Major League Baseball, with a particular focus on LGBT and anti-bullying efforts. He has done such work since 2014 as its Ambassador for Inclusion, but putting him at the vice presidential level and having him answer directly to Commissioner Manfred increases his profile and that of his mission;
- Renée Tirado, has been promoted to Vice President of Talent Acquisition and Diversity & Inclusion. Tirado had previously served as Senior Director of Recruitment. She will direct the implementation of recruitment plans and procedures to support MLB’s staffing objectives and will oversee MLB’s Diversity Pipeline Program. As you may recall, Major League Baseball has struggled mightily in these effort in recent years, and has admitted as much; and
- Melanie LeGrande has been promoted to Vice President of Social Responsibility. She previously served as MLB’s Director of Community Affairs. Her job will be to develop and enhance the initiatives that support MLB’s position in the community and oversee MLB’s community investments, nonprofit/non-governmental organization partnerships, large-scale disaster relief efforts and employee volunteer engagement.
Manfred said, “the promotions of Billy, Renée and Melanie reflect our commitment to have strong, innovative leadership in place that aligns our industry objectives with a desire to be effective corporate citizens.”
While all of these are current employees who have served in roughly similar roles. A business’ organizational chart says much about how much that business values various functions and initiatives. In keeping with Manfred’s comments, that all three of these people have been promoted to the vice presidential level is a strong signal from MLB about what it wants.
Now all it has to do is follow through and get what it wants.