Jim Tracy resigns as Colorado Rockies manager after losing season

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Denver, Co. (The Denver Post)-- Rockies manager Jim Tracy resigned Sunday afternoon, the club confirmed. Tracy has been engaged in talks with Rockies executives the past two days concerning whether he would return as manager for 2013.

He was due to be paid $1.4 million next season.

Tracy was hired in 2009 and led the Rockies to the playoffs. Colorado finished with 98 losses this past season.

"Jim Tracy is a man that has brought professionalism to the Rockies organization since 2009," Bill Geivett, Rockies vice president and director of baseball operations, said in a statement.

"However, Jim has decided that he no longer wants to move forward as manager. We respect Jim's decision, and we wish Jim and his family the best of luck as we begin our search for the right person to become the next manager of our organization."

In an interview, Geivett acknowledged that he didn't expect Tracy to resign.

"I was surprised," Geivett said. "Knowing Jim as long as I have it, it was not something I sensed would happen."

Asked directly why Tracy resigned, Geivett said: "I will let Jim answer that."

When asked if the Rockies' starting pitching system, or a lack of say in who would be on club's coaching staff next year were the main factors in Tracy's decision, Geivett said that there was no one sticking point that emerged during their meeting on Friday. Geivett met with Tracy for several hours Friday in what amounted to a sweeping evaluation of the organization and Tracy's role in it going forward.

The first sign that Tracy was uncomfortable was when he and Geivett did not speak on Saturday. There was no conversation Sunday until Tracy called Geivett and informed him of his intention to resign.

All-star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said Tracy always had his support.
"He definitely meant a lot to me," Tulowitkzi said. "He is someone I will stay close to. I have a great deal of respect for him. He has been nothing but honest."

Even as the Rockies stumbled to their worst season in franchise history, Tulowitzki said the players continued to support Tracy.

"He definitely did not lose the clubhouse. Guys respect him," Tulowitzki said.

Veteran pitcher Jeff Francis was caught off guard by Tracy's resignation.

"I am surprised," Francis said. "I think maybe it's a sign that he was frustrated. I don't know this, but maybe it has to do with the direction of the team."

Francis, like Tulowitzki, said Tracy was respected in the clubhouse and in the dugout.

"I don't think he had lost us," Francis said. "I mean, we didn't play well this year at all, but nobody ever quit. Nobody ever gave up at-bats. I mean, we had that nine-game losing streak late in the year, but we came back to win four straight. I think that said something about the character of the team and the respect we had for Jim."

Tracy was the fifth manager in team history. He led the Rockies to a 294-308 (.488) record in his three-plus seasons as the club's manager. Tracy was named the 2009 National League Manager of the Year after leading the Rockies to the 2009 National League Wild Card and a franchise-best 92-70 record.

By walking way, Tracy is forfeiting the $1.4 million remaining on his contract. There was no discussion about him remaining in the organization.

The Rockies managerial search begins Monday with bench coach Tom Runnels and Triple-A manager Stu Cole expected to be among the in-house candidates. Veteran Jason Giambi's desire to continue playing, for now, means he's not in play for the managerial job.

Tulowitzki isn't sure what the future will bring.

"We had a bad year," he said. "Sometimes changes are a good thing. Sometimes they are not. Time will tell."

The Rockies coaches have yet to be informed about who will be retained, though changes are anticipated.

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