DENVER -- Veteran first baseman Jason Giambi, who would give up playing next season for a chance to manage, interviewed Thursday for the Rockies' vacant managerial post, a source with knowledge of the talks said to MLB.com. Giambi, 41, joined the Rockies late in the 2009 run that landed the club in the playoffs, and he has grown into a trusted sounding board for teammates. He also spent much of this season learning from former manager Jim Tracy and had the ear of the front office when the team was making key personnel decisions. The Rockies have met only with in-house candidates Giambi and Tom Runnells, the bench coach since 2009, since Tracy resigned Oct. 7, a move that took club officials by surprise. Runnells said the interview went well and indicated he would remain with the organization even if not named the new manager. Runnells was a longtime manager in the Rockies' system before joining the big league staff when Tracy replaced Clint Hurdle.
Giambi has been a high-profile player for years. He earned the American League Most Valuable Player Award in 2000, and spent seven seasons in the spotlight with the Yankees. But Giambi has said in interviews that he enjoys the part of the game no one sees. He spent many hours talking to veterans such as Mark McGwire and Dennis Eckersley with the Athletics and Derek Jeter with the Yankees about game situations and players, gaining a deep knowledge of the game. Giambi has said he wants to pass on that knowledge. With the Rockies, Giambi has spent time with the younger players. He became a source of information to Eric Young Jr. as he was breaking in as a pinch-hitter and reached out to third baseman Chris Nelson, who became a .301 hitter in 2012. Giambi also has become a confidant of Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Both played collegiate ball at Long Beach State, and they hit it off immediately when Giambi joined the Rockies. They were housemates during Spring Training in Arizona. Tulowitzki also purchased an offseason home in Las Vegas, where Giambi lives and trains. Last winter, the two hosted workouts in Vegas and invited center fielder Dexter Fowler, a .300 hitter this year; infielder Josh Rutledge, who had a strong big league debut; and third-base prospect Nolan Arenado. This offseason, Giambi is a free agent after battling viral syndrome for part of 2012 and undergoing hernia surgery at season's end.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.