Former A's ROY Walt Weiss hired as Rockies manager

936733.jpg

Former A's ROY Walt Weiss hired as Rockies manager

DENVER -- Walt Weiss is making the rare jump from the high school dugout to the big leagues.The Colorado Rockies hired the former major league shortstop Wednesday night to replace manager Jim Tracy, who resigned Oct. 7 with one year and 1.4 million left on his contract rather than return to a club where its assistant general manager had moved into an office in the clubhouse.The 1988 AL Rookie of the Year with Oakland, Weiss played shortstop for the Rockies from 1994-97 and was a special assistant to general manager Dan O'Dowd from 2002-08.He left to spend more time with his family and last season coached Regis Jesuit High School outside Denver, in Aurora, to a 20-6 record and the 5A semifinals of the state championship. Weiss' son, Brody, is in his senior year at the school.The Rockies made the announcement after owner Dick Monfort and top officials deliberated at the general managers' meetings in Indian Wells, Calif. - held at a hotel Monfort owns, the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa.Weiss didn't return a phone message and e-mail from The Associated Press. A team spokesman said Weiss would be introduced at a news conference Friday at Coors Field."It was a lot of different things," general manager Dan O'Dowd said before suggesting senior vice president of major league operations Bill Geivett speak about Weiss' hiring. Geivett didn't immediately return phone messages.Weiss and Arizona coach Matt Williams were the finalists to replace Tracy, who quit following the worst season in franchise history. Rockies bench coach Tom Runnells and first baseman Jason Giambi also interviewed, with Giambi saying he would retire as a player if he got the job.The 48-year-old Weiss spent parts of 14 seasons in the major leagues, also playing for Oakland (1987-92), Florida (1993) and Atlanta (1998-2000). A .258 career hitter, he was an All-Star in the 1998 game at Denver's Coors Field.Colorado had more familiarity with Weiss than with Williams."He would take trips in the minor leagues. He was always around with the major league club at home, as well," Geivett said earlier Wednesday. "I know Walt pretty well."Williams, a five-time All-Star third baseman, has been Arizona's third base coach the last two seasons after a year coaching first base. Before that, he was a Diamondbacks' broadcaster for five years."I played against him in college when he was at UNLV," Geivett said. "No real personal contact."Weiss is just the sixth manager for the Rockies, following Don Baylor (1993-98), Jim Leyland (1999), Buddy Bell (2000-02), Clint Hurdle (2002-09) and Tracy (2009-12).Colorado went 64-98 last season under Tracy, who was promoted from bench coach to manager in May 2009 and was voted the NL Manager of the Year after guiding Colorado into the playoffs that season.The Rockies started strong in 2010 but faded at the finish and they ended up going 294-308 under Tracy, who also had worked with Geivett in Montreal and Los Angeles.Energized by the young players and the challenge of fixing things, Tracy said repeatedly toward the end of last season that he wanted to fulfill the final year on his contract in 2013. But he changed his mind after meeting with Geivett following the team's last-place finish in the NL West.Things changed dramatically for Tracy on Aug. 1 when Geivett, the assistant general manager, was given an office in the clubhouse and began focusing on roster management, particularly as it related to the pitchers, and evaluating the coaching staff and the rest of the players. Tracy's responsibilities were narrowed to game management and meeting with the media."I thought we worked together fine," Geivett said after Tracy's surprise resignation last month.Geivett had said that structure will remain in place next season but he didn't think that would be an issue in his search for a new manager.In addition to altering their front office, with O'Dowd focusing his attention on the minor leagues and player development, the Rockies last summer reacted to Coors Field playing like its pre-humidor days by adopting a radical four-man rotation and a 75-pitch limit with several designated piggyback relievers, a much-derided experiment that lasted two months.Geivett has said the Rockies will return to a traditional five-man rotation next season with pitch limits determined on a case-by-case basis.Tracy was given an indefinite contract extension last spring but it guaranteed only his 2013 salary of 1.4 million as field manager and really just represented the club's desire to keep him in the organization in some capacity.

Rich Hill 'incredibly thankful' for time spent with A's

Rich Hill 'incredibly thankful' for time spent with A's

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The A’s didn’t make waves in the opening stages of the winter meetings, but one of their former pitchers did.

Rich Hill signed a three-year $48 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. In doing so, he returns to the team that acquired him from Oakland at last summer’s trade deadline.

It’s quite a career pinnacle for Hill, 36, who the A’s took a chance on last winter by signing him to a one-year $6 million deal. The lefty was less than a year removed from pitching in independent ball with the Long Island Ducks, a move he made to transition back to starting after years pitching in relief.

Hill showed emotion at times as he addressed reporters Monday at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center. He also expressed gratitude for his half-season in green and gold. The lefty flourished in 14 starts with Oakland, going 9-3 with a 2.25 ERA before the trade. That validated him as a legitimate big league starter and helped pave the way for Monday’s payday, as Hill stood out as arguably the top starter available in a thin free agent pitching market.

“Obviously that’s an opportunity we were incredibly thankful for,” Hill said. “To be able to do that with Oakland, be re-established as a starting pitcher. When you look back at that time, I’m extremely humbled by that but also the opportunity in Boston and going back even to Long Island. Connecting the dots going backward, we feel very fortunate getting to this point. But all those things had to fall into place.”

Hill said his camp had discussion with several teams this winter, but that there was no meaningful dialogue with the A’s about a return. Now the Dodgers hope he can bolster their rotation for the next three years behind superstar ace Clayton Kershaw.

Hill turns 37 in March, so signing him to a three-year deal can be viewed as going out on a limb. But Hill says he looks to other older pitchers as an example of what can be accomplished even pushing beyond a 40th birthday.

“You see guys like R.A. (Dickey) and Bartolo (Colon), who are still pitching into their mid-40’s, it’s inspiring because it’s something I would love to do,” he said. “ However, we all know the body clock says other things.”

A’s officials weren’t scheduled to arrive at the winter meetings until Monday evening, with the first media availability for Oakland’s front office set for Tuesday. At the top of their to-do list is finding an everyday center fielder, either through free agency or a trade.

Report: Ex-A's outfielder agrees to $13 million deal with Yankees

Report: Ex-A's outfielder agrees to $13 million deal with Yankees

XON HILL, Md. — A person familiar with the negotiations says free agent outfielder Matt Holliday and the New York Yankees have agreed to a $13 million, one-year contract.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity Sunday night because the agreement had not yet been announced.

Holliday, who turns 37 next month, fits into the Yankees strategy of signing veterans to short-term deals while pivoting toward a youth movement.

A seven-time All-Star, Holliday was drafted by Colorado in 1998, traded to Oakland after the 2008 season and then dealt to St. Louis the following July. He hit .246 with 20 homers and 62 RBIs in 110 games this year, missing substantial time after his left thumb was broken when he was hit by a pitch on Aug. 11.

Holliday became a free agent when St. Louis declined his $17 million option.