DENVER (AP) – Walt Weiss made his way around Coors Field on Sunday to say so long to the Colorado Rockies fans for the season.
Turns out, his farewell was for good, too.
Weiss is out as manager of the Rockies after four seasons in charge. In a statement Monday, the team said Weiss has decided to step down.
However, he really didn’t have a job to come back to because his contract expired after the season finale. General manager Jeff Bridich, who took over two years ago, will now get to select his own manager.
The Rockies finished 75-87 this season, their best record since 2010.
Weiss took over a team on Nov. 7, 2012, that was coming off the worst season in franchise history. He was a high school coach at the time with no major league coaching experience. The former big league shortstop learned on the fly and concluded his managerial stint in Colorado with a 283-365 record.
In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Weiss said he was pleased with the direction the team was heading.
“There’s a lot to look forward to here, especially from where we came from,” Weiss said. “Coming in right after the worst season in the history of the franchise, I feel like that if it wasn’t rock bottom, it was pretty darn close. But there’s a lot to feel good about.”
Weiss figured all the Rockies needed was to find a couple more arms for the bullpen. Instead, Bridich’s offseason retooling starts with the search for a new manager.
The players appreciated Weiss’ laid-back style, with All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado giving Weiss credit for having the Rockies on the right track. Arenado said Sunday that Weiss is a manager that “every play respects, everyone around the game respects. You don’t find those people too often.”
The next skipper will be inheriting this: A batting champion in DJ LeMahieu, one of the game’s top leadoff hitters in Charlie Blackmon, an RBI monster in Arenado, another deep threat in Carlos Gonzalez, a star in the making in shortstop Trevor Story and a young but talented rotation led by Jon Gray.
There’s also this: A shaky bullpen, which blew 28 saves chances. Colorado finished 24-36 in games decided by two runs or less this season.
“I like the group that we have. I think we are close,” said Arenado, who led the league in RBIs (133) and tied for the NL home run title (41). “I want fans to know that so they don’t lose hope. I feel bad. They come out every day, to see us lose the way we do sometimes. It upsets me. I want them to know that I truly believe we’re close.”
Weiss has long had strong ties with the organization, playing four seasons for the Rockies from 1994-97. He also served as a special assistant to the general manager for seven years from 2002-08.
By PAT GRAHAM, AP Sports Writer
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