Jason Giambi has been a home run hitter for the Colorado Rockies since he joined the team for their 2009 Wild Card Run. He has 22 home runs, mostly in the pinch-hitting role over the last few years, including a three home run game against the Philadelphia Phillies in 2011. Giambi was hoping to take his veteran leadership to the manager’s job, but was passed over for Walt Weiss, who coached Regis High School in Aurora (the same Regis that is the school of Gold Medalist Missy Franklin).
He was then offered the hitting coach job for the Rockies, but turned it down out of respect for Weiss. According to Giambi, he did not want to be looming in the shadows if the season does not go well. He played with Weiss on the Oakland A’s and thought he was a true professional, who all the guys looked up to. He told the Denver Post:
“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. I want Walt and the Rockies to do well and get things turned around.”
Giambi was definitely the fan favorite for the managerial job, but the Rockies are trying to keep things in house to appease fans. Weiss was a Rockies shortstop and All-Star during the Blake Street Bomber days. Joining him as the hitting coach is Dante Bichette. The four time All-Star was with the team from 1993-1999 and was a key figure in the early days of the Rockies. He was known for taking a curve ball machine on the road to help minimize the effects of the Colorado altitude and dry air and was a .299 career hitter.
Of course, the Rockies need new pitching to compete in the NL West with World Series Champion San Francisco Giants and the high rolling Los Angeles Dodgers. Giambi has been a mentor to a number of Rockies players, in particular, Troy Tulowitzki. Giambi has expressed interest in continuing to play, but the Rockies may be moving Todd Helton into his pinch-hiting, back up first basemen role.