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13 Oct

Fredi ready

Braves act quickly, name Gonzalez skipper | braves.com: News.

To the surprise of absolutely no one, the Braves hired Fredi Gonzalez to be the new manager, basically never leaving the spot vacant.

I’m not wild about it.

First off, I don’t like that the Braves don’t seem to have really searched for a new manager at all, but only hired the guy who was around. (Fredi spent more time in Atlanta the last three months than Kasim Reed.) I mean, no doubt they did their due diligence and they talked to lots of guys within the organization, but there was no search process. When the Braves hired Roger McDowell, they went outside and did a search, and I think it worked out pretty well.

Secondly… I’m just not impressed by Gonzalez’s record in Florida. He went about .500 with .500-level talent. Low as the Marlins’ payroll is, they have and had some awfully good players. But that’s not really what I’m talking about.

Fredi, it seems to me, has Bobby’s weaknesses with tactical managing (that is, lots of bunts, awkward pinch-hitting decisions that blow an extra player, heavy use of a few relievers) without Bobby’s strengths as a leader of men. The central incident of Gonzalez’s career in Florida was a blowup over a lack of hustle by his best player, Hanley Ramirez, that unnecessarily exploded into a major story and didn’t really go away until Fredi was fired. I just can’t see that sort of thing happening to Bobby.

Maybe I’m wrong, but what I think the Braves are doing here is trying to find someone who will continue what worked for Bobby… and that just doesn’t work. You can’t replace a great manager with an imitation. He just can’t do what his predecessor did, and when he tries, he’s going to get tuned out.

It is now more vital than ever that Chipper Jones rehab his knee and join the team. Because if the Braves are going to compete in 2011, Chipper — and Tim Hudson — are going to have to take on clubhouse management. I know that everyone likes Fredi, but it’s hard for me to see that anyone respects him, or how he’s going to build that respect. That pushes things a level down, to the players whom the other players certainly respect, to keep the clubhouse functioning.

My guess is that Fredi Gonzalez will manage the Braves for most of two seasons, being replaced by a coach in late 2012 with a record a little better than his Marlins record. I hope I’m wrong.

157 Responses to “Fredi ready”

  1. 1
    sdp Says:

    Go Braves!

    I don’t really know much about managing baseball, but the move does kinda smack of trying to replace Bobby with a Bobby.

  2. 2
    stupup74 Says:

    Mac, I could not agree more.

  3. 3
    Ron E. Says:

    “I just can’t see that sort of thing happening to Bobby.”

    Yeah Bobby just got players like Escobar traded (often for crap return) when he couldn’t handle them. That worked so much better.

    Since most managers do stupid stuff like have Jason Heyward bunt, leave Derek Lowe in an inning too long, and pitch Johnny Venters every day, I doubt it will really make much difference having Freddi rather than Bobby. It’ll be much more important who the Braves bring in to play the outfield; how good Freddie Freeman is; and how well Chipper, Prado, Jurrjens, and Medlen recover from their injuries.

  4. 4
    Smitty Says:

    Im not sure even the Braves would have traded Hanley, but then again, I don’t think hanley would have pulled that crap with Bobby Cox.

  5. 5
    D.N. Nation Says:

    Two-year bust, dumped after a spiraling situation year two? Harsh.

  6. 6
    IthacaBraves Says:

    It seems like he is Wren’s guy, and has been for years. One thing to consider is that Wren is less likely to build a team with the kind of hard to manage personnel that your typical Marlins team is comprised of. The Braves have a level of continuity and veteran presence that Florida didn’t have while Fredi was there.

  7. 7
    Coop Says:

    When do pitchers and catchers report?

  8. 8
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I understand Mac’s concerns; I guess we’ll just have to see. I think that a lot of the problems with the Hanley situation came from the owner’s office, and whatever you want to say about Liberty, they haven’t gone to the press behind the manager’s back. I have a fair degree of confidence that Fredi, given a better owner, better payroll, and better talent pipeline, would get better results.

    The question of whether players respect him is extremely important, and I don’t feel like I have much of an insight into how the Marlin players felt about him aside from the Hanley incident. That team’s culture is so deeply weird, because of the insanely low payroll and ownership, that I am willing to take some of that stuff with a grain of salt.

    Also, the Marlins had a lot of talent, but I don’t think those players were guaranteed success. Do you give Fredi credit for the career years enjoyed by Josh Johnson, Anibal Sanchez, and Dan Uggla, or for the terrific rookie years by Mike Stanton, Gaby Sanchez, and Logan Morrison? Considering the tiny payroll, in order to stay competitive, they have to have a lot of things go right. And they did.

  9. 9
    Tom Says:

    Braves Journal has suddenly become NY media after when the Yankees hired Torre! C’mon, give the man a break. He deserves a chance.

    I would REALLY like to know who the new hitting coach will be though. One thing is for sure, he can’t do any worse than TP.

  10. 10
    Jeff K Says:

    Why believe that the players don’t respect him and tune him out? Basically I saw one player (Hanley) do that to him and to all the other players on the Marlins. I have never seen any hint of that among the Braves.

    I don’t think any manager in baseball equals Bobby’s player leadership ability. So that’s not really the correct benchmark.

    I’ll give Fredi all the room in the world for two years.

  11. 11
    Remy Says:

    Having a bilingual manager is a real plus. No more intermediaries.

    Add Chris Coghlan to Florida’s roster of young talent.

  12. 12
    Stephen in the UAE Says:

    I tend to agree with Mac: this looks like a lazy decision–it is an attempt to find the manager the Braves believed was most like Bobby….Not necessarily a disaster–but the Braves could have used a rethink, fresh perspective and real search.

    We can only hope for the best….

  13. 13
    ububba Says:

    I have no idea what kind of manager Fredi’s going to be with this bunch. I’m certainly willing to give the guy a chance—y’know, at least 30 games. ;)

    Hopefully, we’ll pick up some bats & I sure hope C. Jones is motivated to return. Even the Zombie Chipper would’ve helped down the stretch & in the post-season.

    Getting back to NYC, I had a couple Mets fans express their condolences on the Conrad Fiasco. One said, “Man, that was just like the Mets!”

    Well, no—the Mets won that game, remember?

    So, as I like to say, one of the few tonics for misery is shared misery. So thanks, all, for sharing.

  14. 14
    Stu Says:

    Mac also predicted that Wren would have been fired by now, FWIW.

    I thought Gonzalez was 100% in the right in the Hanley ordeal. I like Fredi; I hope he does well. I have no idea whether he will, and neither does anyone else, really.

  15. 15
    BFedRec Says:

    @ububba AND the Mets fans would never have given the guy a cheer the next day when he came in to pinch hit (or during pre-game outfield exercises)… For that matter… I’m rooting for the Giants to go all the way JUST because they were classy enough to turn and salute Bobby during their celebration, something I don’t see the Phils (or Texas or Yanks) doing had it happened in another series.

  16. 16
    Remy Says:

    Any ideas about who the new hitting coach will be?

  17. 17
    sdp Says:

    @16: Jeff Francoeur.

  18. 18
    Smitty Says:

    Of course it was Fredi that that coined the nick name “Frenchy”

  19. 19
    Marc Schneider Says:

    I don’t have a real problem with Fredi; I think he handled Hanley about right. I’m not sure what else he could have done.

    But I agree with Mac that this hiring smacks of the same old, same old. It’s not as if this organization has been going to the World Series regularly. This might have been the time to bring in someone younger with a little more modern approach to the game.

    Realistically, though, the manager is a lot less important than the players. Look at Charlie Manuel, not exactly a baseball genius. Give Fredi the right players and he will win.

    As for Jeffy, it drives me nuts that no matter how bad he performs, he acts as if he is Ted Williams. And the media seems to insist on seeing him as a talented player no matter how bad his numbers.

  20. 20
    hpotter Says:

    New Braves bench coach Carlos Tosca never played pro ball. He’s been a minor league coach since 1978

  21. 21
    Tony Says:

    “Having a bilingual manager is a real plus. No more intermediaries. ”

    I don’t believe being bilingual improves someone’s ability to manage. Besides Infante is the only Latino coming back next year. Oh damn forgot about Gonzalez…but shouldn’t they both know a little ingles by now?

    I agree with Mac on this one. Not excited whatsoever.

  22. 22
    Smitty Says:

    Well, Fredi does have an insight on the Marlins, so maybe we can start beating them in Florida.

  23. 23
    Dix Says:

    I was at a game where Bobby benched Andruw for lack of hustle on a fly ball to center field. The decision was applauded in the papers the next day.

  24. 24
    FUWren Says:

    I’ll reiterate that I don’t care at all who the manager is. Tactical in-game decisions are not rocket science. In fact, I’d argue strongly that not having a manager would have done us some good in the playoffs…

    Pressure is on the front office here to make this team better. Neither Fredi Gonzalez nor Bobby Cox (nor any other possible managerial candidate) make the team better. We win when we have good players and lose when we don’t. We need to get better at evaluating players for acquisition and developing young players from the draft. Not saying that we should get totally SABR-crazy, but a little bit couldn’t hurt – we’re small-market after all aren’t we? Seriously doubt Wren is the guy for this job.

  25. 25
    BFedRec Says:

    Another DOB tweet…

    @ajcbraves: Fredi G. smiled and said he texted Chipper this on way to ballpark: “I said to get off the couch and go get 100 at-bats in winter ball.”

  26. 26
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I think I was at that game too.

    Speaking of which, can you imagine how much better we’d have been this year if Gerald Williams had been our full-time CF?

  27. 27
    Bob Horner Says:

    Don Baylor anyone?

  28. 28
    ububba Says:

    The ability to speak Spanish to Latin players like Infante, Prado, Martinez, Gonzalez or whomever is only a good thing. I know that Alvin Dark might’ve disagreed…

  29. 29
    mravery Says:

    Tony- How about Martin Prado? And wasn’t like half of our team Venezuelan at one point this year?

    Seriously, I’ve got not problem with hiring Freddy. It’s certainly not “going outside the box”, but there’s something to be said for continuity. Plus I bet Bobby’s super on board with this one. And if it comes down to it in a couple years, Wren will be able to go in whatever direction he wants.

    It’s like when UF hired Zook after Spurrier left. You had some continuity and maybe it works out. And if it doesn’t, there’s no problem canning him two years later and getting Meyer.

    But I hope Freddi works out better than Zooker. :-)

  30. 30
    Dix Says:

    +1 to the Rangers for celebrating with ginger ale so Josh Hamilton could be included. That’s probably been mentioned, but I think it’s great.

    Now, if only we could eliminate all celebrations that occur before a team has actually won anything that counts…namely the World Series. With exceptions to crazy accomplishments like the ’91 Braves and ’07 Rockies.

    It’s similar to crowds rushing the field/court at inappropriate times. It sucks and is awkward.

  31. 31
    Tennessee Brave Says:

    “We win when we have good players and lose when we don’t.”

    And THAT’S the bottom line.

  32. 32
    Tony Says:

    Prado was the translator for Melky, Infante and Yunel. So Prado can speak English.

    Well I guess whatever job Bobby V gets next, he should definitely get some good Japanese prospects…since he speaks Japanese. Which I found amazing by the way.

  33. 33
    Marc Schneider Says:

    @30,

    I agree, I don’t understand why teams celebrate just getting to the LCS. I can understand celebrating getting to the World Series.

  34. 34
    drewdat Says:

    That was the Rangers’ first ever playoff series win. They were the only MLB team without one, which is pretty bad considering that probably 8-10 expansion teams beat them there.

    Actually, 12, plus the Angels who started in the same year, 1961.

  35. 35
    Mac Thomason Says:

    That’s nothing, the Phillies took 100 years to win the World Series for the first time.

  36. 36
    justhank Says:

    That was a great century.

  37. 37
    justhank Says:

    Hmmm – Chipper’s future not certain / hitting coach not named …

    Coincidence? I think not.

  38. 38
    TheFlyingBernard Says:

    Somebody said we should have hired a younger manager. I think Fredi is already the 3rd youngest manager in baseball, after Manny Acta and Joe Girardi.

  39. 39
    Johnny Says:

    See here: http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/article_6e24edb8-d196-11df-9e58-00127992bc8b.html

    re pasted the blog with the St. Louis journalist Strauss. Please note the post that outlines the ‘caste system’ in the Cards clubhouse. Contrasting that with Bobby’s style, I don’t see anything wrong with attempting to continue the same basic formula with Fredi Gonzalez. At the very least the guy is going to try to make a bunch of millionaires accountable and that is alright by me.

  40. 40
    DougM66 Says:

    Great, The Braves hire a manager whose qualifications are being bilingual and not being able to get along with his one star player in his previous managerial job.

  41. 41
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    His one star player was a preening prima donna, which is a big reason that he was traded by the Red Sox.

  42. 42
    justhank Says:

    Fredi handled the Hanley situation exactly right and his pusillanimous owner didn’t back him up.

    Now, let’s watch Hanley show his gratitude and loyalty by re-signing with the Marlins. BWAHAHAHAAAHAHA!

  43. 43
    ububba Says:

    Guffaw Dept.

    The Yanks played a simulated game today at Yankee Stadium & AJ Burnett hit 2 of his own teammates.

  44. 44
    Nick Says:

    Does anyone really think that, if we had conducted a huge nationwide search, interviewing multiple candidates, we wouldn’t have eventually made the same decision? While it’s certainly arguable, it is very possible that Gonzalez was the most qualified candidate of all the available ones. I don’t think we’re the only team who thinks so highly of Fredi Gonzalez. Before he turned down the interview, he was thought to be the Cubs’ No. 1 choice, for instance. He won Manager of the Year a couple years ago, and I realize that that doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but to say that he didn’t do a good job with the Marlins is a stretch.

    And if you’re looking for a manager who’s never gonna bunt or give intentional walks, you’ll be looking for a long freaking time. Not to mention the fact that just because his in-game management style is not exactly the same as yours would be or mine would be doesn’t mean his way is the wrong way to do it. It’s just a different way to do it. That’s the thing that always rubbed me the wrong way about people killing Bobby over the years, and now it’s already happening with Fredi before he’s even managed a game for us.

    Also, there’s no way he doesn’t get at least three years IMO. If we miss the playoffs for the next three years, he might start to be in trouble, but I don’t see him getting only one full year before being on the chopping block.

  45. 45
    Robert Says:

    My guess is that Fredi Gonzalez will manage the Braves for most of two seasons, being replaced by a coach in late 2012 with a record a little better than his Marlins record. I hope I’m wrong.

    Nah, there’s nobody that holds anyone accountable in this organization. All that seems to matter is continuity. We will limp along with a subpar GM and subpar manager until something dramatic happens. All ownership cares about is the bottom line and everyone in upper management is too buddy-buddy for anyone to ever be fired.

  46. 46
    Nick Says:

    I’m still trying to figure out exactly what was subpar about the job Frank Wren did this year, but that’s alright.

  47. 47
    Robert Says:

    #46 – I’m glad you are happy with him. I’m sure limping into the playoffs and being quickly disposed of will somehow power the ‘I Trust Frank’ folks for some time. Good luck with that.

  48. 48
    Mark Graybill Says:

    Didn’t the Braves limp into the playoffs largely because they lost Medlen, Chipper, and Prado in quick succession (and because Jurrjens also go hurt)?

  49. 49
    DougM66 Says:

    He wasn’t the Cubs’ number one choice. That person is still managing in the ALCS (not for the Rangers). The second and third choices are (in no particular order) Quade and Sandberg. Fredi was going to be just another interviewee, with almost no chance of getting the job. He was the Braves’ choice all along. It’s a good job. I just think they could have taken more time and done better, but only if they were willing to find someone who wasn’t vanilla.

  50. 50
    sdp Says:

    Blah, blah, blah. The f*ck Frank Wren bologna is so tired. Go find me your perfect front office executive and then let’s talk. He’s done a pretty damn good job in his time here.

  51. 51
    DowneasterJC Says:

    I’m a Frank Wren supporter, but calling the Escobar trade just “subpar” is extremely generous. I don’t doubt that others were behind it moreso than Wren, but Wren was still the one who had to make the deal.

    And no matter what anyone in the entire world says, AAG is not an “alright” player. He is horrible, position be damned. Nobody with a sub .300 OBP over 5000 career PAs should have a job in Major League Baseball today.

    @47

    It’s because of Wren we were even able to “limp in” to the playoffs in the first place. Without Troy Glaus, this team is lucky to be at .500 on the season.

  52. 52
    Nick Says:

    Before injuries, this was one of the best teams in the National League. I’m not sure what more you’d want. Other than, like I mentioned above with Bobby, being one of the best teams in the National League and doing it exactly how you would’ve done it, which is not really a fair standard.

    Best I can tell, people are pissed with him this year because they absolutely loved Yunel Escobar and couldn’t see that he stood at least a semi-decent chance of torpedoing the whole operation (both of which I find hard to fathom, given all the crap he pulled), and because they were upset that we traded a useless fourth outfielder and an incredibly useless relief pitcher for a useless-in-a-way-they-liked-less fourth outfielder and a better relief pitcher that had a lot of baggage here. Again, not exactly how you would’ve done it, but hardly ridiculous moves. And incidentally, Farnsworth even managed to exorcise his demons with his performance in this year’s postseason, a fact I hope people would’ve caught onto if we’d advanced to the NLCS. I’m not saying I’m in a hurry to have him back next year or anything, but I just thought I’d point it out.

  53. 53
    Smitty Says:

    Is it me or has DOB really become a big homer?

  54. 54
    DowneasterJC Says:

    Yeah, Yunel Escobar was going to be the downfall of the entire Braves organization. Right. All because of his frosted tips not being conservative enough for the Braves.

  55. 55
    Robert Says:

    Best I can tell, people are pissed with him this year because they absolutely loved Yunel Escobar and couldn’t see that he stood at least a semi-decent chance of torpedoing the whole operation (both of which I find hard to fathom, given all the crap he pulled)

    As has been said over and over, if you need to trade Yunel, fine. The fact that Wren identified New Guy as a player worth having is the frightening part. He has a long track record of suck that our GM turned a blind eye to because of a fluke April. That is a shitty job, no two ways about it. This team continues to shed assets and get practically nothing in return.

  56. 56
    sdp Says:

    I think you all are underestimating the pull Bobby Cox has/had in this organization. If this trade is so shitty, logic says that maybe it wasn’t 100% Frank Wren’s move.

  57. 57
    mravery Says:

    “Nah, there’s nobody that holds anyone accountable in this organization. All that seems to matter is continuity. We will limp along with a subpar GM and subpar manager until something dramatic happens. All ownership cares about is the bottom line and everyone in upper management is too buddy-buddy for anyone to ever be fired.”

    This, right after we made the playoffs with half the team in the infirmary….

  58. 58
    Stu Says:

    53—It’s not you. He’s worse than Peanut, now. At least Peanut’s not hostile.

  59. 59
    se1915 Says:

    Not only do I not understand the animosity towards Wren, I still do not understand the continued moaning about the Escobar trade. Yunel is not appreciably better than Alex Gonzalez. Why would anyone lament no longer having Yunel and Jojo on the team?

  60. 60
    Mac Thomason Says:

    DOB hates Yunel. Just loathes him. Like me and Francoeur plus me and Melky.

  61. 61
    joshua Says:

    What would a search process have accomplished? I mean really, they already had their minds made up – it’s not like they were going to interview someone and be blown away to the point they would take them over Fredi. Fredi was a comfortable pick and knew the organization – I think they are desperately trying to avoid some culture shock. Anyways, back to my point, I think it was a tremendous idea to get the hiring of the manager done immediately – now they have the man there to help them construct their roster for next year. It would have been a bad idea to delay it to the point where Wren was trying to make moves without his new manager’s input.

  62. 62
    Adam M Says:

    Being a Cubs’ choice, no matter how high on their list, does not endear me to anyone. This is the same organization that replaced Dusty Baker with Lou Piniella.

    As for managers, my hope is generally that they don’t mess things up too much. Their job is to keep the clubhouse in order and put the best guys on the field they can. What worries me here is that Fredi Gonzalez didn’t exactly do that during his tenure in Florida. For instance, he batted Mike Jacobs cleanup for like three years and gave Emil Bonafacio–he of the .277 wOBA–509 plate appearance in 2009, the vast majority of them in the leadoff spot.

    Until Melky is non-tendered, I’m going to have nightmares about him being our Center Fielder and leadoff hitter next year.

  63. 63
    Adam M Says:

    DOB is awful. I can’t read him anymore, especially with his hostility to any level of criticism. I do like Michael Cunningham, however, who is the AJC beat guy for the Hawks.

    For the record, Verducci basically admitted during the Giants series that the Braves traded Escobar because Cox didn’t want him in the clubhouse anymore. If that’s true, then Wren had no leverage; he was effectively forced to sell low on Yunel AND be limited to shortstops available at the time. Frankly, it’s kind of weird to be so hostile at Wren over that trade and yet defend Bobby Cox at every turn. Live and learn, I guess.

  64. 64
    sdp Says:

    @63: Bingo.

    Although, Verducci called AAG “clutch” in the same statement.

  65. 65
    braves14 Says:

    Why on earth is Snitker still the 3rd base coach?

  66. 66
    DowneasterJC Says:

    @59

    Are you honestly going to say that Yunel is not appreciably better than Gonzalez with a straight face?

    Yunel: .289/.364/.397/.762
    Gonzalez: .248/.294/.402/.695

    What about that screams “not appreciably better”? Is it the 5 points of SLG that he has over Yunel? Take out this year where he had a fluke four weeks (and I think the other side of the sample is large enough to actually consider those four weeks a fluke), and his SLG is only .395.

    Alex Gonzalez is only a baseball player in that he his a human being that is capable of swinging a manufactured wooden club. Yunel is automatically better just out of the sheer fact that he is capable of NOT swinging said damn club.

    I don’t know about anyone else here, but I would certainly lament straight trading a SS with a .350+ career OBP for one with a career .294 OBP. And I personally think all this stuff about Yunel being a “cancer” is bullshit just made up to justify Bobby hating and him forcing Wren to trade him. As far as I know, Yunel never acted like others should be grateful to play alongside him. I personally never heard any stories about Yunel dogging his teammates. Yeah he was a slouch at times, but if you go into work everyday where everyone hates you just because you’re not part of the “in crowd”, are you going to bright and positive and still feel motivated everyday? No, you’re not. End of story.

    Did Yunel make some(a lot) of mistakes? Yeah, but so does Alex Gonzalez and it’s alright for him because at least he’s “alright” and a “clubhouse guy.” So does Brooks Conrad, but hey, he’s a tough guy. He’s a gamer. Can’t blame it on him.

    Yunel? WHAT THE HELL MAN GET THOSE STUPID FROSTED TIPS OUT OF HERE!!

    Give me half of a god damn break.

  67. 67
    spike Says:

    Well, as little love as I have for AAG, Wren did ok from where I sit. Given Chipper’s and Bobby’s comments after the trade, I suspect he didn’t have complete freedom of movement on that. It still sucks, and was a stupid thing to do, but I am sure that was a Cox inspired if not mandated, move.

  68. 68
    FUWren Says:

    I don’t care about the Escobar trade, although we did sell low if you consider Yunel’s potential (rather than his actual this-year’s performance).

    My problem with Wren is that we needed to get a difference-making bat before the deadline, and he didn’t do it. In hindsight, given the crazy amount of injuries that happened later, this probably doesn’t look all that bad, but to me any year where you have a good shot at making the playoffs is a year where you should “go-for-it” and try to improve the team in the here-and-now. Our minor league pitching prospects will not all pan out, and there’s always a decent chance that none of them will. Holding on to all these guys makes no sense and is not worth the opportunity cost of not trying to win it all when you have a decent shot.

    The deals he ended up making were useless moves that just looked like he was trying to give off the appearance of “doing something”.

  69. 69
    sdp Says:

    It’s hard to take you seriously when your handle is “FUWren.”

  70. 70
    Weldon Says:

    I’m so tired of talking about the Escobar trade. Everyone’s made up their minds by now, folks. The argument was over a long time ago.

    I’ll miss TP. He was my first favorite player as a kid. Maybe he’ll get a chance to come back if Fredi flames out. I’d rather that not happen, of course.

  71. 71
    spike Says:

    @68, you might want to check Lee’s splits as a Brave. Wren couldn’t have accounted for Infante and Heyward slumping simultaneously.

  72. 72
    Johnny Says:

    #68 You are assuming an unlimited budget and that such a ‘difference making’ bat was available. You also conveniently forget that there were a lot of teams still in contention at the deadline. You also assume that Wren didn’t try.

    You are entitled to your opinion of Frank Wren and the job he did, but I am confident that you are in the minority.

  73. 73
    drewdat Says:

    @71

    And McCann, McCann had a crappy September before picking it up in the playoffs.

    Lee basically passed the torch to McCann after being the only player on the team to hit at all for the last 3 weeks or so of the regular season. Rick Ankiel had the team’s second highest postseason OPS (min 10 PA), with .702. Omar was third at .541.

  74. 74
    Rusty S. Says:

    It’s pretty normal in all sports for teams to look for continuity if they’re happy. So, I assume the Braves were happy with the tenure of Mr. Cox.

    This would be a nice way to stick it to the Marlins as well, if it works.

    I agree with Adam M though, the Bonifacio in the leadoff spot love is disturbing.

  75. 75
    Guillermo Says:

    Wren’s 2010 moves:

    Best
    1.- Glaus / Hinske. Great value.
    2.- Wagner. 7 million well spent.
    3.- Saito. Good value.

    Worst
    1.- DFA Kelly Johnson. Miss managed asset.
    2.- Yunel / Gonzalez-Collins. Trading Collins in the KC trade did not help.
    3.- Soriano / Chavez. Miss managed asset. We know that it was a complicated situation, and it’s not fair to be so black/white, but at the end of the day, that is what the braves got for Soriano’s talents.

    To be determined:
    1.-Lee / Lopez-Lorick-Harris. Depends if Lopez develops. Without hindsight, this was a good risk to take.
    2.- Vazquez-Logan / Cabrera-Dunn-Vizcaino. Melky and Javi were awful (The Melkman was worse but a lot cheaper). It’s Logan Vs. Dunn-Vizcaino. Depends on Vizcaino, i like the braves side.
    3.- Farnskiel / Chavez-Blanco-Collins. Depends on Collins development.

    I, initially, hated DFA Ryan Church. He was awful in Pittsburgh, less so in Arizona (SSS). He was hurt most of the year. Then this was also a good move by Wren.

    At the end of the day, in my personal opinion, it was a good year for the Braves and for Frank Wren.

    Would i like Yunel back? Of course. Did i enjoy having Billy Wagner play for the braves? You bet.

  76. 76
    Stu Says:

    70—TP’s still here, just as first base coach.

  77. 77
    jj3bagger Says:

    I couldn’t agree more about all the bitching about the Yunel trade. What are we supposed to do about it now ? Everybody who’s pissed about the trade should be hoping that Pastornicky turns out okay. Let’s turn the page.

    If we’re going to do the whole retrospective bitching thing, non-tendering KJ was a much worse move than the Yunel trade. At least KJ could have played left. Again, I don’t blame Wren for not taking KJ to arbitration, but you can’t debate whether or not he would have been better than the collective sack of crap the Braves rolled out in left field this year, and had one more year left of arbitration.

    I ripped Wren for the handling of the Smoltz situation, but he made the right move if we’re talking purely about a baseball move.

    I don’t see how Infante can be moved. That’s what happens when you have virtually no other decent backup infielders in the organizationm as we all know. If he made a ton of money, I would say trade him, but he’s too valuable for what he makes next year ($2.5MM.) If a miracle happens and all the infielders stay healthy, there will still be enough at bats for him as a INF/CF/LF super utility guy.

  78. 78
    Lucus Says:

    I thought Terry Pendleton was the heir apparent until Fredi got fired. I say TP and I take off for Mexico. I’ll be Stevie Janikowski and he’ll be Kenny Powers.

    For real, what happened to TP being the manager?

  79. 79
    Dan Says:

    Hate this hiring.

  80. 80
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Mac, I think you give Gonzalez far too little benefit of doubt, here. The Braves hired the guy that management – including Bobby Cox, who still sits on the Board of Directors and will be a “consultant” in whatever capacity he likes going forward – think will continue the “Braves way of baseball.” I think it’s presumptuous to grade this hire out this harshly, based only on your best guess gut feeling about how Gonzalez will manage a clubhouse.

    As for his managerial tendencies, all baseball managers will do things stat-y fans dislike occasionally, and those instances tend to stick in our minds. So I think you might be interested in this anecdote from Neal Traven, contributor to Baseball Prospectus, long-time member and current President of SABR, from the 2009 SABR Convention (held in Atlanta this summer.)

    “As many SABRen know, prominent speakers at the convention are given a year of SABR membership as a perk. So, at least for the next year, Cox is a SABR member (as are fellow Braves Worst-to-First panelists Niekro, Gant, and Lemke). Pete Van Wieren, who moderated the panel, is a long-time — and “real” — SABR member. Interestingly, Fredi Gonzalez, who wasn’t a speaker or panelist at the convention, has also joined SABR, apparently of his own accord. In addition, and in sharp contrast to the honorary Braves, he’s joined a number of Research Committees, including the Statistical Analysis and Science Committees.”

    Gonzalez also set through a couple of statistical analysis presentations at the 2009 gathering.

    Perhaps we should give the new guy a chance before we start penning his obituary.

  81. 81
    Mac Thomason Says:

    FWIW, on the conterproductive overmanaging stats, Fredi bunted a little less than Bobby and called for about as many intentional walks.

  82. 82
    Catz Says:

    http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-braves-blog/2010/10/13/braves-drop-hubbard-switch-pendleton-from-hitting-coach/

    So Hubbard and Cadahia are gone, TP’s now the first base coach… huh.

  83. 83
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Going through the 2009 stats (his last full year, plus the last one I have numbers on hand for) Fredi bunted less than the old managers (Bobby, LaRussa, Torre, etc.) but more than the younger ones. Or Charlie Manuel, who hardly needs to call for many bunts.

  84. 84
    kc Says:

    Are we giving the Braves too little credit that they did their research and still think Fredi is the right choice? We replaced Leo with Roger, that turns out to be pretty good. We replaced JS with Wren, and I personally like Wren very much. Are we giving the Braves too little credit on their decision making process despite what they have achieved?

    We have shown in Roger’s hiring that we are not afraid to go out of the organization if the candidate is right. As long as the choice is a correct one, I don’t care where the guy comes from. This just turns out to be a boring and obvious choice, but it may also be a correct one.

  85. 85
    Mac Thomason Says:

    I think that the difference is that Roger was willing to introduce some outside ideas and integrate them with the “Braves Way”, while I don’t see that Fredi brings anything new to the table, just a reduced version of what we already had.

  86. 86
    Weldon Says:

    I thought everyone loved Hubbard. Huh. I remember all the infielders talking about how much he helped their defense. Maybe the Brooks thing hurt him? I doubt it…

  87. 87
    csg Says:

    pretty awesome that all these miner’s were rescued and relatively in good heath

  88. 88
    kc Says:

    Surprised we kept Snitker and drop Hubbard but not the other way around. I like Fredi finally moves TP away from the hitting coach position, which I think is long over due.

  89. 89
    kc Says:

    @85 Well, at least he is not keeping the entire coaches as is. Bringing in Tosca to replace Cadahia and moving TP is another position. Hiring a new hitting coach. I don’t think Fredi is a complete Bobby clone. As you said, that’s simply impossible. I don’t think he is simply a lesser version of Bobby. I honestly think Fredi’s hiring is similar to Wren’s promotion. Not many of us like it (I knew I didn’t), but it may turn out to be a good one.

  90. 90
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    A friend on another board mentioned that during the season Hubbard was asked about managing and said he didn’t want Bobby’s job and that he would be happy to go back to instructing minor leaguers. I suspect he’ll be a roving infield coach in the Braves’ system.

    I *think* the move from hitting coach to 1B coach is a promotion in “baseball terms.” 3B coach is the highest assistant coach position on the team. 3B coach is where managers-in-waiting are positioned; Jimmy Williams, Ned Yost, Fredi Gonzalez. Brian Snikter will probably get an interview or two for vacant manager positions before too long.

    I think 1B coach is second-in-waiting, but I don’t know for sure. I can’t tell if it’s a promotion or a lateral move for TP.

  91. 91
    csg Says:

    I know Rudy Jaramillo signed a 3yr deal with the cubs a year ago, but I wonder if it changes his deal with a new manager coming in

  92. 92
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Dear God. I just read/remembered. He brought in Tosca to take the bench coach job he had in Florida. His hitting coach was Jim Presley. If I see Jim Presley in a Braves uniform again I will snap.

  93. 93
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Mac, I think you’re way off on this, personally. I’d rather take the conservative route and extend the “Braves Way” – that’s the process that led to 14 straight divisions, the most dominant dynasty of the modern era and an organization that can turn around a “rebuild” in less than three years. If they went out and got a “shake it up” option that would 1) insult Cox before the door hits him in the ass and 2) lend itself to far more scenarios where really bad things happen for the franchise.

    The Braves organization, while underfunded by Liberty Media, ain’t broke. You don’t try to fix what ain’t broke.

  94. 94
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Jim Presley’s value as a hitting coach does not pivot on his lack of value as a player. He may be Merv Rettemund.

  95. 95
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Rettenmund sucked as a hitting coach, for the Braves, anyway. And Presley is just a bad symbol. He’s the embodiment of the pre-1991 Braves — a free agent hacker who didn’t play defense and was playing his way out of the league.

  96. 96
    csg Says:

    who would we be excited about as a hitting coach?

  97. 97
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    You don’t hire coaches based on their symbolism, astrological sign or voodoo. If he’s a good hitting coach, you hire him.

  98. 98
    Mac Thomason Says:

    So, hey, let’s give Francoeur a shot then.

  99. 99
    Smitty Says:

    @96,

    1/8th of the board would hate the Ghost of Ted Williams and his “pull the ball” approach.

  100. 100
    Mac Thomason Says:

    I would be excited by anybody who isn’t Jim Presley.

    Or Merv Rettenmund.

  101. 101
    Bob Horner Says:

    Its going to be Don Baylor! Just my guess anyways.

  102. 102
    Smitty Says:

    Don Baylor is rumored to be a front runner for the Blue Jays job

  103. 103
    kc Says:

    @92 If Fredi decides to bring in Jim Presley as the hitting coach, then I am completely in your camp.

  104. 104
    jj3bagger Says:

    Smitty’s barber told me Nick Esasky is going to be the new hitting coach.

    I’m sure Yankees fans cringe when they see the greatness that was ‘Bam Bam’ Meulens as the hitting coach for the Giants.

    I had totally forgotten Presley was also a hitting coach for the expansion era DBacks.

  105. 105
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Of course, Bobby would be involved in the decision, and he had to manage Presley, so presumably hates him.

  106. 106
    Remy Says:

    Here’s an excerpt from an AP report on Gonzalez’s hiring:

    “Gonzalez said he’ll do a few things differently than Cox. Perhaps the most noticeable change will be having the players stretch on the field before batting practice, something his predecessor never asked the Braves to do.”

    Well, that will certainly cut down on the injuries.

    Full report here:

    http://tinyurl.com/2dk3sw7

  107. 107
    Mike N. Says:

    Nomar for hitting coach!

  108. 108
    braves14 Says:

    I have a suspicion that Chipper having fundamental philosophical differences with TP is a big reason why they’re moving him.

  109. 109
    td Says:

    I’m surprised about the Braves letting Hubbard go, but if his coaching had anything to do with the Braves’ lack of defense this year, it’s a good move. I have been firmly against Pendleton as hitting coach, but whether by dumb luck or skill, I think the results were good this year considering what he had to work with. Where is Chris Chambliss now?

  110. 110
    IthacaBraves Says:

    @ 109
    I was just looking into Chris Chambliss. He’s managing Charlotte, I think that’s AAA. Is AAA manager higher than Major League hitting instructor? It seems like a lateral move for him….but I don’t know.

  111. 111
    Bethany Says:

    I wouldn’t say the defensive problems we had were coaching problems. I think we blew a couple of games in late July and early August due to errors and it started getting into the players heads.

    They seemed to be mental mistakes more than anything. I’ll miss Hubbard, I can’t see our late season defensive collapse as being his fault.

  112. 112
    jj3bagger Says:

    I love Hubbard, but whenever I think of him, this is instantly the first thing that comes to my mind:

    http://tinyurl.com/2dz7uob

  113. 113
    Bob Horner Says:

    16 more weeks till spring training. Man I already miss Braves baseball.

  114. 114
    mraver Says:

    I always enjoyed Hubbard. Maybe as the 1B coach, TP will get less flack when the hitting sucks. It’ll be interesting to see who they bring in. I wonder what’ll happen to Chino.

  115. 115
    Marc Schneider Says:

    No one here and certainly not me knows what makes a good hitting coach. Maybe Presley would be another Walt Hriniak for all we know.

    @66

    You act as if Tuneless did absolutely nothing to earn the team’s anger. How about butchering a pop-up, almost getting the first baseman killed, and complaining about an error call in the middle of the game. Bobby doesn’t give up on players just for the hell of it. And there’s no evidence that he was being somehow frozen out because he wasn’t one of the boys. He brought it on himself. If you don’t like the trade that’s fine but at least acknowledge that his behavior played some part in bringing it
    about.

    Well for the first time the Braves manager will be younger than me.

  116. 116
    Bob Horner Says:

    Mac what do you think will happen with Kawakami?

  117. 117
    sansho1 Says:

    We made it to the crapshoot despite having more missing pieces than the other contenders, so I can’t complain about the overall job that Cox and Wren did this year. And I don’t pretend to know whether Fredi was the right hire, but I am amused by those who do, as well as those who use “the Braves way” as a term of opprobrium.

  118. 118
    Alex R. Says:

    Had to hop on because I don’t get the coaching decisions Fredi made at all. Count me as a guy who was glass half FULL on the Fredi hire, I like him…I don’t like decisions he made today including KEEPING Brian Snitker and Terry Pendleton and FIRING Glenn Hubbard. Bizzaro world? Get rid of a solid coach and keep two utter stiffs.

    The only upside is Pendleton has been separated from our offense. Have they announced the new hitting coach? Maybe Chipper should be player-hitting coach?

  119. 119
    IthacaBraves Says:

    When Pendleton came up he played on a team that generally lacked power and made its living by lighting up the base paths and and catching the ball. Perhaps that is something that he can bring to the table that wasn’t here before. On an unrelated not, I’ve noticed that the Twins seem to have an abundance of both major league and high minor league outfielders, a few of whom are borderline five tool talents that fit the teams needs. This seems like a situation where dealing some pitching may be in order.

  120. 120
    jj3bagger Says:

    I guess nobody on here was as big of a fan of 1984 Fleer cards as I was as a kid. Very sad.

  121. 121
    jdpeace Says:

    Glenn Hubbard was actually mean to me when I was nine. He was signing things for fans in a mall in Chattanooga and my mom took me. Stood in line for a half an hour trying to think of something smart to say. When I got up there I started to stutter something out while he signed a baseball for me and as I blurted out my smart he told me I was holding up the line and rolled his eyes at me in exasperation.

    In his defense, he had somehow wound up stuck in a mall for hours on a Saturday. But, hey, screw that.

    Twenty-six years later it’s PAY BACK GLENN!!

  122. 122
    jdpeace Says:

    It was a good thing actually. I had just read something dumb in the paper about how great he and Rafael were as a double-play tandem—they had led the league in turning two that year. I remember thinking how it was kind of an inevitable victory since in 1984 the Braves strategy was to put two guys on base every inning. Like an autistic kid I was smart enough to work that out, but not to realize that pointing out to Hubbard that the team sucked wouldn’t have been endearing.

  123. 123
    Timo Says:

    Let’s be honest here. None of us know how well or not the Braves coaches did (except TP and McDowell maybe). So I’m fine with any decision taken until it goes wrong…

  124. 124
    kc Says:

    We also know Snikter sucks. This is the first of many decisions which Fredi will upset me.

  125. 125
    jdpeace Says:

    In concurrence with Mac we also know Jim Presley is the batting beelzebub. He’s swing satan. Hitting Hades. The slugging Shaitan (which is devil in Arabic). It’s that bad. Other cultures unfamiliar with baseball say he’s not good.

    We did graduate from the same high school though. Go Escambia Gators!!

  126. 126
    jdpeace Says:

    Just in case he gets hired. For his career Presley struck out 25% of the time and finished with a 247/.290/.420. I can only assume as a hitting instructor he preaches a do the opposite of what I say approach.

    Sorry Jim. Go Escambia.

  127. 127
    BFedRec Says:

    Anybody else find this Kung-Fu Panda quote amusing?

    “It’s going to be fun,” Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval(notes) said. “They have one of the best pitchers in the National League and we have one of the best pitchers on our team.”

  128. 128
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Atlanta Braves Organization Discussion – Minor League Ball.

  129. 129
    Marc Schneider Says:

    I hate the way G-mail gives you prompts for words so that when I try to say Yunel, it comes out Tuneless. Maybe that’s appropriate.

    I say, fire Fredi right now. He has not won one damn game for the Braves!

    Seriously, if Fredi is fired in two years, I suspect it will be because there is not enough talent on the team, not due to his managing.

    @121,

    At least Glenn Hubbard didn’t do to you what Mickey Mantle apparently did on one of his autographs–saying “it’s a good thing your mother has big boobs.”

  130. 130
    sdp Says:

    Kawakami will either be traded or buried. Take a pick.

    If we do see him again, it’ll be confirmation that Bobby hated him.

  131. 131
    sansho1 Says:

    Pete Van Wieren’s story about attending an autograph session with Steve Bedrosian has been told here before, right? It’s worth retelling –

    Bedrosian is signing autographs when a visibly nervous teenage girl approaches with her mother. The girl is too nervous to say anything, so the mother asks Bedrosian if he would sign the jeans her daughter is wearing. He does so, which leads to the following (approximate) exchange:

    “Oh, thank you, Mr. Bedrosian. She’ll never take those jeans off again!”

    “She will if she goes out with me.”

  132. 132
    Ron E. Says:

    Kawakami has to be traded doesn’t he? If the Braves couldn’t find a use for him in September with Medlen and Jurrjens down and Minor out of gas, then they just have completely lost confidence in him. His contract isn’t horrible. They should be able to move him.

  133. 133
    Smitty Says:

    sansho,

    That is up there with the Andruw Jones Gold Club story. “Both of them, count it.”

  134. 134
    Taylor Newheart Says:

    http://tinyurl.com/24foyyq

    Thoughts on trading Jair? I don’t see it really, unless a team wanted to hand us a Ryan Braun-type in exchange. That won’t happen, of course.

  135. 135
    csg Says:

    I think if Medlen was still healthy the braves would consider moving JJ. I dont see him getting moved this offseason, but I do think he’ll get traded before 2012. Medlen, Teheran, and Delgado may all be ready by 2012 and there may not be any room.

    Huddy, Hanson, Lowe, JJ, Minor, Beachy, Medlen, Teheran, Delgado = a lot of potential for 2012

  136. 136
    Smitty Says:

    I think thsi winter we need to turn one of these pitchers for an outfielder with some pop. Rasmus/ Willingham anyone?

  137. 137
    Stu Says:

    128—Is there any doubt that “apoxonbothyourhouses” is Braves Journal’s very own “chris”? (No, there is not.) Same lack of capitalization except for EMPHASIS; same obsession with comparing Sabol and Alvord to Rendon.

  138. 138
    ububba Says:

    #129
    There are a lot of Mickey Mantle stories like that, and many of them are included in Jane Leavy’s new book about him.

    She also wrote the Sandy Koufax book, which I loved. Heard her on a radio interview the other day discussing Mantle & the book, a project that took 8 years to complete (500 interviews, apparently). Sounds really intriguing.

  139. 139
    Coop Says:

    @ 134 (Taylor Newheart): Other than Ryan Braun, are there others of his type?

    If I had my druthers, I’d druther keep JJ UNLESS we swap him for Mr. Braun himself.

  140. 140
    Marc Schneider Says:

    I just purchased the Mickey Mantle book on Kindle. I never really got into the Koufax book. Mantle seems like a more interesting story, frankly. Koufax seems utterly admirable but not terribly compelling, especially since he refused to be interviewed.

    There is apparently a story about Mantle missing most of the 1961 World Series after taking an injection for veneral disease from a hack doctor named Max Jacobson. I believe that Jacobson was, at the same time, treating President Kennedy in secret with steroids for his Addison’s disease and back problems. It sounds like Mantle and Kennedy had a lot more in common than their doctor.

  141. 141
    Mac Thomason Says:

    And you put all that together and you get… MICKEY MANTLE WAS ON STEROIDS!

  142. 142
    Dusty Says:

    jdpeace

    That’s cool that you mentioned that, I actually still have that picture of me and Hubbard taken at the mall (I guess it was Northgate). He was actually pretty nice to me as much as I recall (I was 6 or 7). Always liked Hubbard probably because of that picture and my glove had Glenn’s signature on it.

  143. 143
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Hey, a scurrilous unsourced rumor about the Yankees! We need more of those.

  144. 144
    Marc Schneider Says:

    I think a bigger concern is that the President was on steroids with his finger on the nuclear trigger.

  145. 145
    justhank Says:

    Why are the Rangers starting Cliff Lee third? At least start him in the second game.

    If it’s Yankees and Phillies again, I may boycott the damn thing. (Advertisers everywhere tremble.)

  146. 146
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    If Barry Bonds could have injected a nuclear bomb, he would have.

  147. 147
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Jeffy, you bitch!

  148. 148
    BFedRec Says:

    Just the THOUGHT of Yanks/Phils again bores me…

    Bowman is on twitter suggesting Pirates hitting coach Long for the job… thinking he might be able to straighten out McLouth. He’s also talking about a reliever changing his name (Luis Valdez : Jairo Asencio )

  149. 149
    Bethany Says:

    Do we really want to be pillaging the Pirates in our rebuilding project?

    Thanks for the Frenchy link, Mac, I don’t know what’s more entertaining, the Mets fans reaction or the quote itself.

  150. 150
    ububba Says:

    #140
    One of the reasons I loved the Koufax book was because he wasn’t interviewed for it.

    The challenge was for the writer, then, was to put together a compelling story without his direct (on-the-record) input & I love how artfully she did it with every other chapter focusing on each inning of his perfect game vs. the Cubs.

    Leavy also likes to debunk (or illuminate) myths with as much evidence as she can find. Apparently, there’s plenty of that in the Mantle book.

  151. 151
    Mac Thomason Says:

    Derrek Lee played September with a torn ligament in his thumb.

  152. 152
    Bethany Says:

    Interesting in that it was also his best month as a Brave.

  153. 153
    Remy Says:

    Here’s a piece on the new Mantle biography:

    http://tinyurl.com/398gv9t

  154. 154
    fuw Says:

    It’ll eventually come out that Melky played the entire season with a sprained fat roll.

  155. 155
    ububba Says:

    And if anyone had any remaining doubts about the realities of big-time college football, here’s that terrific agent story in the new SI.

    Blinders off…

    http://tinyurl.com/23ffcrv

  156. 156
    Mac Thomason Says:

    New post.

  157. 157
    Rip Says:

    How did that work out for Nebraska football when they went away from their roots with Bill “tommy boy” Callahan? It was not until they brought back Osbourne as the invisible hand in the program that they ascended again.

    Sports examples where the legend hung around after his legendary tenure
    Red Auerbauch – Worked out well
    John Wooden (to his credit, I think he was reluctant to hang around but no one could live up to him anyways)
    Joe Torre – Clean break, worked out well but Torre’s coaching tree picked up slack
    Pat Riley – Got Miami Heat title then stayed in front office which gave credibility to get guys like ‘Bron and Bosh –
    Bill Walsh – Clean break, Disciple Seffiert steered ship for a while but complete implosion after that
    Tom Landry – Clean break worked out really well. This is the example I would most closely align to braves. Tom Landry is Bobby Cox. Jerry Jones was vilified but he took a 180 degree turn against Landry for a complete culture overhaul. I’d say it the Jimmy Johnson/Switzer era worked out Ok b/c he had the gumption for regime change.

    The curious thing will be whether Bobby meddles too much. Is he at the Ted everyday or doing what he signed up to do which was play hand grabber in Pearl, MS.

    These franchises are obviously more successful than the braves who should take note of how others have replaced legends.

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