Williams to interview for Rox's manager job
Arizona's third-base coach could also meet with Blue Jays front office
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Matt Williams will interview shortly for the open managerial position with the Rockies, and perhaps the Blue Jays as well, the D-backs third-base coach and former All-Star third baseman told MLB.com on Saturday night."They've called and asked permission from the Diamondbacks, so we'll see how it all goes," said Williams, after managing his East squad to a 9-4 victory over the West in the annual Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game, played this year at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. "I haven't had [any interviews] yet. We're still working on logistics because I've been [managing in the AFL]. So we'll get to it at some point." Williams has spent the early part of the offseason managing the Salt River Rafters in the AFL, his first such endeavor. He reportedly is set to meet with Rockies officials in Arizona on Monday, according to the Denver Post, quoting a Major League source. Williams, however, declined to specifically confirm the timing of that session. He is one of four candidates for the Colorado job, which came open when Jim Tracy resigned just a few days after the regular season. The Blue Jays, who allowed manager John Farrell to leave for Boston in a deal with the Red Sox, are still in the middle of their search. But Toronto senior vice president of baseball operations and general manager Alex Anthopoulos has said the process will be significantly shorter than the two-month period -- during which a dozen candidates were interviewed -- when Farrell was hired two years ago. D-backs executive vice president and general manager Kevin Towers said on Sunday morning that only the Rockies have been given permission to talk to Williams thus far. "The Blue Jays have kicked the tires about possibly interviewing [Williams], but have not formally asked for permission to date," Towers said in response to an email query about the subject. The Post reported that Williams will meet with Rockies owner, chairman and CEO Dick Monfort, executive vice president, chief baseball officer and general manager Dan O'Dowd and Bill Geivett, the team's senior vice president of Major League Baseball operations. Conveniently, the Rockies share the Salt River Fields Spring Training complex with the D-backs, where the Rafters also play their home games. "It depends on the schedule here and all of my obligations here," Williams said. "It could be any day now. The fact that they're interested in me filling those positions is great, very exciting. When we sit down and talk, we'll see what happens. I'll try to answer all their questions and give them some direction based on how I see it." There are two weeks remaining in the AFL season, but complicating matters is the fact that all the GMs and their assistants have their annual meetings for three days this week, beginning Wednesday at Indian Wells, Calif., in the Palm Desert, just three hours west of Phoenix. The Winter Meetings are in Nashville, Tenn., this year from Dec. 3-6, so both teams will certainly want to have their managerial positions filled by then. Williams, 46, was a five-time All-Star who played 17 big league seasons, coming up with the Giants and finishing with the D-backs after a one-year stint with the Indians. Along the way, Williams played on the Giants team that was swept by the A's in the 1989 World Series and the D-backs club that defeated the Yankees in a seven-game 2001 Fall Classic. He batted .268 with 378 home runs and had a National League-leading 43 homers when the strike ended the 1994 season in mid-August. Well liked, Williams a limited partner with the D-backs, was a part-time broadcaster, and has just finished his third season as third-base coach, the last 2 1/2 under manager Kirk Gibson. Williams is set to return in that position this coming season if he doesn't get one of the Colorado or Toronto jobs, but managing in the big leagues is his ultimate goal. "That's right. I've wanted to do that since I started coaching," Williams said. "I've had great support in the Diamondbacks organization -- from Kevin Towers to Gibby and all the coaches. They've helped me all along the way. So if the opportunity arises, I'll take it."
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow@boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.