Weiss’ First Hire: Dante

The one-two punch of surprise landed today as the Rockies announced that Dante Bichette accepted the offer to become the Rockies hitting coach.  Many thought it would be Jason Giambi, who seemed to be the front-runner after just missing out on the Manager position to Weiss.  Giambi withdrew his name from consideration, stating that it wasn’t a fit at the current time.  In a phone interview with Troy Renck, he gave his feelings about stepping down:

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. I want Walt and the Rockies to do well and get things turned around.

He went on to say that he wasn’t sure what he will do next, but knew he didn’t want to be a distraction, or worse, the guy that the players might lean on if things weren’t going the way they were expected.

As far as Bichette, he seemed to be out of the running after telling the Post that he wasn’t ready for the job.  Apparently the pickup of Weiss as manager helped him rethink that position and eventually become the next hitting coach.  Weiss called Bichette and asked him if he would rethink the idea.  Weiss absolutely wanted Bichette on his staff and made that very clear to the Post:

We felt Dante was a top-notch hitting guy. And once he showed renewed interest, we went after him full-bore. He was the best I ever played with when it came to driving in runs. He always had a terrific two-strike approach, and he was very, very good with runners in scoring position.

Two-strike approaches and hitting with runners in scoring position are situations the team has struggled with under previous management.

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sdcarp
sdcarp
7 years ago

I’m excited about the Weiss and now Bichette hires. Here’s the primary reason – they are iconic enough in Rockies history/lore that if they get lucky and get off to a solid start next Spring they may be able to acquire more power and leeway (moreso than someone like Matt Williams) to instigate their way of thinking/mindset on the team and maybe, just maybe, move us past Geavett and DoD micro-management.

Rocky Mountain High
Rocky Mountain High
7 years ago

Some of us posters recalled Dante’s comments during the season that we need to have this Coors Field attitude back. “I don’t care who’s pitching but we are going to hit the heck out of them.” I thought Giambi was DOD’s choice but it proves that DOD and his theories are being shoved aside. Bring in the killer instinct. Having this attitude can only give pitchers more confidence knowing that they can be aggressive and give up five runs, yet… Read more »

Bill
Bill
7 years ago

I like the move. Unlike Giambi who was a star almost from the beginning, Dante was a journeyman player until he came to Denver. Sure he benefited from the altitude but he worked at becoming a star. I think that having managers and coaches that had to work to become good players may be the way to go. The D-Backs have certainly made it work for them. And I have no problem with adding other ex-Rockies if they would be… Read more »

GARY
GARY
7 years ago
Reply to  Bill

Or the former MVP outfielder who was considered one of the best baserunners of all time.Doubt Larry would give up Florida golf to return to Denver.

DRH
DRH
7 years ago
Reply to  Bill

Vinnie for 3rd base coach.

Bat Cat
Bat Cat
7 years ago
Reply to  Bill

Totally agree with sdcarp that this band of brothers may stand up to DOD and his altitude BS, and totally agree with Bill that EYSr would rock as the running coach. I had zero enthusiasm for 2013 and now that is changing. When the coaches are introduced on Opening Day, they’ll get as big a cheer as the players.

Timo
Timo
7 years ago
Reply to  Bill

The only problem I have is that EY was the 1st base and baserunning coach for one of the worst baserunning teams in the Majors last year. Not sure if it was the talent he had to work with or not, but the Rockies need to focus on getting the right coaches for the job and not just at reuniting the “Glory Days Group” if you can call them that. I do like the Weiss and Bichette signings though. Now… Read more »

Pooter
Pooter
7 years ago

I love it!! Teach these boys to hit with two strikes and have some flair while doing it!

If I was Walt, I wouldn’t be freaked out over a 1 year deal, especially with the talent on the team and what he has to improve on from last year. So basically a complete dumpster fire causes him to lose his job.

Doc
Doc
7 years ago

Love Dante but, as we all know, hitting is not the problem. Check out this quote from the DP: “Though the Rockies lost 98 games in 2012, they were a good offensive team, hitting .274 to lead the National League for the first time since 2007. Their .276 average with runners in scoring position led the National League and was second in the majors to the AL pennant-winning Tigers (.286).” Another move to put fannies in the seats. Hire a… Read more »

Mike Raysfan
Mike Raysfan
7 years ago
Reply to  Doc

Absolutely true. Hec when we get to mid season or later and things are going bad, it will be much harder for fans to point at lousy coaching. We are getting the fan favorites.

That said, who wouldn’t be excited after listening to Dante on 850 yesterday. It seemed obvious to me that Bichette and Weiss are good friends and are definitely on the same page. They need to have the same exuberance, mentality, and chemistry from the pitching coach.

Cisco Kid
Cisco Kid
7 years ago

For those of us who bitch about having the Monfarts as owners of our club, it can be worse, we could be stuck with Jeffrey Loria.

Mike Raysfan
Mike Raysfan
7 years ago
Reply to  Cisco Kid

No kidding … right!

sabrchip
sabrchip
7 years ago

Now this gets me up. Bichette happening in the lineup is a positive. Hey maybe Walt can cajol Dave Duncan into coming in. That’d be the ultimate for a pitching coach, to come in here and put the staff right. On another note, we know some wheelin’ and dealin’ is gonna go on soon. It’s doubtful the Rox opening up the purse to purchase some help, but if a certain LF who’s very popular was offered to the Evil Empire,… Read more »

IggyRox
IggyRox
7 years ago
Reply to  sabrchip

None of the above. I don’t want Cargo going anywhere. However, if they want to offer Cuddy, Dex (reluctantly), Areando et al for a certain son of a certain hitting coach, I might be willing to listen. Then forget position players… get some arms!

Guess they are bringing back the past just to fill their pockets in ’13. While I will enjoy watching, I aint spending.

GARY
GARY
7 years ago
Reply to  IggyRox

All of the above.

elrodvt
elrodvt
7 years ago

My feelings exactly. Seen him in action before.

Mike in FTC
Mike in FTC
7 years ago

I say we try to help the Marlins complete their fire sale- go get Stanton. I know he is still cheap for the Marlins, but no one will be at that ballpark next year, Stanton or not. Package Arenado, Matzek, and Parker/Wheeler/Bettis.

sdcarp
sdcarp
7 years ago
Reply to  Mike in FTC

I just had this exact same thought. really makes no sense – so why not!

IggyRox
IggyRox
7 years ago
Reply to  Mike in FTC

Montforts don’t want to spend the money, today or down the line. Why should they when the Rox fans will fill the stadium to watch Walt walk to the mound and Dante sit in the dugout?

sdcarp
sdcarp
7 years ago
Reply to  IggyRox

I have absolutely no problem offering Arenado and Matzak in a package – provided Stanton (or similar big name player) agreed to a long term, semi-team friendly contract. Since it’s the offseason and we have nothing else to do, think about this lineup: Fowler Pacheco/Lemahieu Cargo Stanton Tulo Colvin (he’s my 1b) Rosario Rutledge I’ve traded Cuddyer to get some pitching help. EY jr. is my 4th OF, key pinch runner, etc. We also need a defensive, pitcher friendly backup… Read more »

jaredean
jaredean
7 years ago
Reply to  sdcarp

while i’d love to have Stanton, why not dream of putting together a package of players for what we really need – a true ace pitcher? What pitcher out there would you go after with that package of players?

Mike Raysfan
Mike Raysfan
7 years ago

While Stanton did put up some good numbers I’m not sure how much in the grand scheme of things he would help. I think Doc covered the offensive numbers above. Just going by twitter as a reference it sounds like he (Stanton) is not a happy guy and would probably welcome an exit.

Jare, and others, are right. Show me the pitching.

Mike in FTC
Mike in FTC
7 years ago

The problem with getting a young, cheap, ‘true’ ace is that they are either way too expensive to deal for if they are established (they are the highest valued commodity in baseball right now), or if they are not established in the big leagues is is somewhat of a crap shoot (look at what has happened with Pomeranz). My suggestion was merely trading prospects for something that would immediately make a large impact on our team. If we were to… Read more »

sdcarp
sdcarp
7 years ago
Reply to  Mike in FTC

You’re way conservative on his HR numbers if he plays 81 games at Coors.

Mike in FTC
Mike in FTC
7 years ago
Reply to  sdcarp

Yeah, but wanted to account for ‘modest’ production. What do I think he could do here- .320/45+/150+. That is if he stays healthy and wants to keep getting better, which it seems like.

ProgMatinee
ProgMatinee
7 years ago

At this point, any type of move would be nice. Someone check Dan O’Dowd and Bill Geivet for a pulse.

Mike in FTC
Mike in FTC
7 years ago
Reply to  ProgMatinee

Very true. Although they are probably going to take the approach of ‘wait to see how the market shakes out’ and then make moves. This is also know as ‘we don’t really know what we are doing, so we are going to watch what others do this year and then try to replicate it with the leftovers.’ Although- I do give DOD full credit for the moves that paid off last year (Stewart and Weathers for Colvin and DJ), and… Read more »

ProgMatinee
ProgMatinee
7 years ago
Reply to  Mike in FTC

Exactly right IMO.

Its a rare occassion when the Rockies are ahead of the curve in making moves. Even the Cuddyer move while big $s actually came pretty late.

I recall it was affter deadline for renewing season tickets anyway.

The organization never shows any sense of urgency in anything they do. Probably because they don’t really have a plan.

Rocky Mountain High
Rocky Mountain High
7 years ago

Re: pitching Anyone care to bring me up to date on what pitchers are available via trades or free agency? Doesn’t seem like there’s anybody on the market that is 1) ground ball pitchers 2) less than 32 years of age 3) a strike thrower. The last few years we picked up scraps who were fly ball pitchers and at least 35 years of age. Shall we send Mark Wiley to Japan and find our next ace? Correct me if… Read more »

ProgMatinee
ProgMatinee
7 years ago

Apparently Josh Johnson was available via trade. Anibal Sanchez is a FA. Either of those guys would instantly be the ace of the staff. I hear the Rays have a couple of guys that can be had for the right price. I wish the Rockies had the balls to actually sign an international free agent or posted player. Absolutely not their style, unfortunately. Can’t remember who else pointed it out…but Yoenis Céspedes or Michael Cuddyer. Not really a question anymore… Read more »

Mike Raysfan
Mike Raysfan
7 years ago
Reply to  ProgMatinee

Anibal Sanchez – probably WAY MORE than the Rockies would spend on a pitcher. Last I heard he was looking for around $10m a year.

Rays – right price is exactly correct. Mostly media bs because they have nothing else to talk about. David Price was one of the names and how much do you think that would cost after yesterday? Shields is the other. A seemingly perenial name yet he is still there.

Mike Raysfan
Mike Raysfan
7 years ago

Just went to the Detroit Free Press to check on what they are reporting on the Sanchez asking price. Yikes. $90m/6yrs. Slightly more than the $10m I stated above.

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