The Braves keep Fredi G., but it’s not a mandate

“Better drive straight next season, Fredi.” (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

"Better drive straight next season, Fredi." (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

“Better drive straight next season, Fredi.” (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

The Atlanta Braves just announced that Fredi Gonzalez will return as manager in 2015, which should shock no one, and that co-hitting coach Scott Fletcher will not, which shouldn’t, either. The only mild surprise regarding the Braves’ staff is that third base coach Doug Dascenzo, imported after Brian Snitker was demoted to managing in the minors, is out after one year. (Guess Dascenzo was the real reason the team couldn’t get anybody past third base.)

Fletcher — like chief hitting coach Greg Walker, who resigned Tuesday — had to go. You can’t bring back the men who were charged with tutoring hitters who failed so comprehensively. Dascenzo will be replaced by Bo Porter, who was fired from his thankless job as Houston’s manager late in the season and who had worked alongside Fredi G. with the Marlins.

As for the man himself: I consider Fredi G. a good manager — to his credit, he has won more games than any manager since 2011 — but I was stunned by how little the Braves accomplished in September. They went 7-18 three years after going 9-18 in the season’s final month, and the first time they had a bit of an excuse: Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson were hurt. Unless you count Evan Gattis’ strep throat, they had none this time. They just collapsed.

That never augurs well for a manager, especially when you consider that this manager’s team was tied for first place at the All-Star break. The Braves would finish 17 games behind Washington, and they wound up tied for second with the Mets, who worked all season without the splendid young pitcher Matt Harvey, and only two games ahead of Miami, which worked most of the season without the splendid young pitcher Jose Fernandez.

Headed into next season, the Braves are no lock to be picked above third, or even fourth, in the National League East. Their failure in 2014 made us wonder about everything regarding a club that had won 90 or more games three times in four seasons, and Frank Wren, the general manager who assembled those teams, was “terminated” with seven games remaining. (The loaded verb told you what John Schuerholz and Cox thought of Wren.)

The reason Fredi G. is still around has much to do with Bobby Cox, who never liked Wren but who loves his former third base coach. I’d imagine Cox’s defense of Gonzalez was simple: “How’s he supposed to win when you hand him Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton?” But Uggla and Wren are gone, and the elder Upton is surely going, and my guess is that Fredi G. will get one season to impress the new GM — or else he’ll be gone, too.

In sum, I don’t see this as a raving endorsement or a mandate or anything so sweeping. I see a manager who couldn’t stop his team from falling apart being granted another year because he has an honored friend in high places.

Oh, and some of you are wondering: Why would the Braves announce that they’re keeping Gonzalez before hiring a new GM and letting him make the call? Because the Braves want John Hart, the interim GM, to keep the job for a year or so and mentor John Coppolella. That mightn’t happen — Hart could decide he doesn’t want to work that hard — but it appears to be the plan. Which would be fine by me, seeing as how I suggested that they do that very thing.

Reader Comments 0

45 comments
BooBooBear
BooBooBear

Hopefully, "Will return in 2015" means "To be fired January 2, 2015."  If Wren was the problem, a REAL manager would have resigned if told by Wren to play BJ Upton.  A REAL manager would have put BJ Upton on the bench and had him hold Chipper Jones' leftover jock strap.  A REAL manager would have cussed like a sailor in EVERY post-game press conference, after a game lost because the team once again scored zero runs and only gave up 1 or 2 AT HOME. Just like a red sports car implies fast, while parked on the curb, and a yellow Chrysler implies lemon, a Braves team led by Fredi Gonzales implies LIFELESS & GUTLESS.  The Atlanta Braves Way means success can only come from having quality players who manage themselves; and it has become quite obvious the Atlanta Braves do not have any of those.

rogerpellerin
rogerpellerin

I was hoping we could get some ex-Cardinal influence. Do you think the Braves could have staged the come

back the Cardinals did against Kershaw last night? Re-hiring Fredi is a very bad move. It will show in the

attendance figures. Retire Cox to the senility farm.

ObamaYoMama
ObamaYoMama

Lets be honest here, the only reason they are keeping Fredi is cause he is a "nice guy"


And that folks is why the braves will never be anything more than what they currently are.

THEBITTERTRUTH
THEBITTERTRUTH

I say give FG another year to see what he can do without Wren's interference. If he was forced to play BJ and Uggla by Wren then he really did not have a chance. When 2/9 of your lineup (not including the pitcher) can't hit their weight winning is impossible.

SOB
SOB

Welcome to to episode 139 of the "Good "Ole Butt Boys Club of America"!  Pathetic...

Calel
Calel

On another note, how 'bout them Royals? I guess the Dodgers fans are finding out what we found out in the 90s: No matter HOW great your ace may be, the postseason is another story. $200+ million for THAT performance last night?

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

The Braves are fine as long as the pressure is off.  They don't have "clutch" players or players who have an edge, or whatever you want to call that characteristic that makes players refuse to lose.  Their everyday players are a bunch of overpaid babies, losers, and dolts.

MaybeMaybeNot
MaybeMaybeNot

Bank on it.......Fredi fired after next season when the Braves finish in 3rd place and Bo Porter named next Braves manager.

Ficklefan
Ficklefan

Good analysis . . . for the most part:  Cox is a manager who "could not stop his team from falling apart" and was given another year because his friend in high places, and his guardian angel, Bobby Cox, would not allow it. 


The truth of that observation is obvious on its face. But a closer look at the substance of it raises the big question . . . Why would the Braves re-hire a manager who has proven he has no control over his team?  


Not only can he not stop them from doing things, like disintegrating in September, he cannot make them do things either. A bad habit at the plate, or on base, or in the field, or wherever, can and will last a whole season with Fredi the constant apologist and Pollyanna in Chief (the sun will come out tomorrow) at the helm. The Braves players do what they want, when they want. Fredi makes out the line up, and that's about it. Not one of them fears him or anything he says or does. And he made so many bad decisions  all year long. 


But the worst thing a manager like Fredi  does (the worst thing that any coach or manager can do) is through his weakness, he creates, incubates and fosters the "team killer" - "the win killer" - the "play off killer" -- his style fosters resentment among the players. And when resentment sets in because of inexplicably bad and constant bad decision making, with no explanation, that "team" is dead. 


Speaking of which, I  wouldn't bet my ranch that BJ will be gone next year. It's a pretty good bet, no doubt, but based on today's news, I like my ranch too much. The day that Wren was fired, Schuerholz wet into the TV broadcast booth with the Braves announcers (and public relations team) and yakked, yakked, yakked about the Braves way, and about how the "Braves Way" and about how the sun will come out tomorrow. I knew after that performance that if the Braves did more than re-arrange the deck chairs this coming year. that would be more be a lot more than we should expect. 



Wilbo
Wilbo

The homer boob, organizational bootie smoocher who wrote this column says:


"As for the man himself: I consider Fredi G. a good manager — to his credit, he has won more games than any manager since 2011 — but I was stunned by how little the Braves accomplished in September."


Seriously, pal, are you really that braindead? It is the Braves despicable tradition to tear up the regular season and then die when it counts. That was the #1 hallmark of Booby Cox teams. Display how wonderfully talented you are April- September. Display how gutless you are thereafter.


Good managers don't field teams that are superb until it really counts and then choke like dogs when the heat is on. 

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

Well, they could trade off some of their problems and improve the team, and prove me wrong, but I think Fredi is just a place holder, and next year is just a write off prep year before they try and get the team ready for Cobb. I don't see them busting the budget until they have to, so next year will be just a mediocre year, as they look to see what they have on the farm and how the new hitting coach works out.


Birdhair
Birdhair

Braves managment making all the right decisions lately starting with the long overdue dismissal of Wren.

FG had nothing to work with. We wouldnt have won nearly as many games had FG not been managing. He sat B.J. and Uggla as much as he could in 2013, but his decision to play Uggla and BJ nearly every game this season led to what needed to happen - the firing of the Frank Wren. I think FG played BJ and Uggla to get his point across. Wren constructed the roster and that's all that he was given and he couldnt sit the big $ guys who were suppose to perform.  Fredi is a great manager and absolutely deserves to manage for another year....hopefully, with a much improved roster!

58Supersports
58Supersports

@Birdhair  So that also got Walker fired and 3b coach..  and you think the great fredi plan all that crap too get Wren fired. You lost it too. Yes, I'm glad Wren is gone but Wren was just half he problem..the other half is FREDI

Fifty three years a fan but they can kiss my grit till Fredi is gone...

Bogey
Bogey

Everyone just relax a little. Whether it's Hart, Coppy, or GMTBD, the Braves will only be slightly better next year BECAUSE:

- they don't gave the budget to play in the FA market

- same mediocre core returning

- job 1 is dumping BJ, which will be expensive, along with Uggla's debt

Next year will be the evaluation year, preparing for improvement by the time the new park opens.

Harpie
Harpie

Unbelievable! This guy couldn't manage his way out of a paper bag. He obviously has zero motivational skills, and ( also obviously, if you 've watched any of his interviews ) is dumb as a sack of rocks, and they bring him back to assure the team of another lost season. Screw the whole Braves organization!

ChefTimDix
ChefTimDix

Continuity required to entice renters to the Braves multiplex facility up the road. Simple as that.

WaltBBall
WaltBBall

I will not be going to any BRAVES games next year, there will have to be a major turnaround before I spend another dollar.  I think keeping Freddi Gonzalez is a big mistake

highfive
highfive

Unless Hart remains as GM or the Braves have an understanding with someone like Daytom Moore to become the GM and have ran all these moves by him for approval, then retaining Fredi makes no sense.

58Supersports
58Supersports

THE MOST HATED MAN IN ATLANTA IS REHIRED TO MANAGE THE BRAVES.  BIGGEST JOKE OF THE YEAR! Braves management lied to fans about new GM  picking Manager..The fans deserve better and a manager they can respect..  I will never buy anything again with Braves on it or pay to watch until the Manager is gone. Bobby Rice Cox need to retire to funny farm also..

BaseballBuff
BaseballBuff

Hart will remain GM at least through the 2015 season. You can't crap on a new GM by making this decision for him.


BSNBC
BSNBC

Atlanta deserves better than this crap!

extremus
extremus

Well, THAT sucked all of the air out of the room.

Ersatz
Ersatz

After this announcement, a mandate was made to the 17-story Applebees in barvesworld to fire up the oven and get those tater skins, babyback ribs, mozzarella sticks, and fajitas piping hot for the biggest celebration feast in history. Not only are the barves celebrating another successful season and Fredi earning another year as manager, but they also got cobb taxpayers to pay for it all. None of the cobb taxpayers are on the guest list, but the barves thank you for your generosity in subsidizing the free dinner, stadium, and thd 16-story Applebees itself.

Ersatz
Ersatz

You won't be joining Fredi for a brewski? Fredi is disappointed.

DamonH
DamonH

"will get one season to impress the new GM — or else he’ll be gone, too"

because at the end of the season his contract expires ....

JHarber
JHarber

This is the Braves way

theoriginaltruth
theoriginaltruth

Surely not too many Braves fans are surprised, but for sure a majority are disappointed.......Fredi is a nice guy, but Braves fans don't want a nice guy......we want someone with balls enough to kick a$$ and take names.......


A nincompoop like BJ needs a kick in the butt ...and to be sat down for his lack of hustle and contninual lack of performance defensively on top of the offensive zero he is...


Fredi's failure to control BJ hurt the morale of the team, no matter what any of the loyal team mates say... has to. Santana wasn't talking about the 3B coach when he finally let the offense have it...

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

Seems strange to dictate to the next GM who his manager will be for the first year.

jcoenatl
jcoenatl

What I would like to know, and not a single Atlanta reporter has had the gumption to ask - is if Wren was doing all of this covert stuff behind the scenes, including nepotism, where the heck has Schuerholz been? Has anybody asked? Wasn't he Wren's boss and shouldn't he have put an end to all the crap that was apparently going on?


I definitely won't be spending a dime in the foreseeable future on this team or organization,

LumanHarris
LumanHarris

@jcoenatl Won't be spending a dime .... but watching them for free on the telly, no doubt.

JHarber
JHarber

David and Christopher hit the Nail on the head.  Now I have nothing for Hart or John S.

ChristopherGurley
ChristopherGurley

The defense of "How's he supposed to win when you hand him Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton?" is not at all valid because the Braves won 96 games last year with both of those players.  This is not counting the 53 wins the Braves had on the day they released Dan Uggla, July 18.  Basic math tells me they would go on to win just 26 more games.  Seems to me like Fredi Gonzalez won enough regular season games in spite of Uggla and Upton being holes in the lineup.


Despite all the playoff failures, despite the woeful September record, Fredi is still the manager of this team.  As long as Bobby Cox is around and involved in the decision making, I'm not sure Fredi can be fired.

DavidinVirginia
DavidinVirginia

Nothing new here; same old Braves. If Cox insists on running the team from afar, he should at least have the guts to come back and manage them himself. Then, he could taking the blame for them when they continue to suck. And how's this for "courage" from Fredi...instead of take the blame like a man, he was happy to let 3 of his coaches get thrown under the bus to keep his own job. Outstanding loyalty message there.


Expect BJ Upton to be back, stinking up CF again in 2015, too. It would be entirely fitting.

twentysixpointtwo
twentysixpointtwo

Nice and accurate closing comment MB.  For what is worth (nothing) I totally agree.  Bobby got his wish.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

While they are at it, fire the bench, third baseman, and center fielder.

BTC
BTC

Guess there's no one better out there.   Things will be just fine!    Just empty your wallets folks - that's all we care about...      Sheesh.