Fredi Gonzalez fired — and Braves should hire him now

The potential transition from Bobby Cox to Fredi Gonzalez just got easier.

The potential transition from Bobby Cox to Fredi Gonzalez just got easier.

When Bobby Cox manages his final game in four months, give or take, depending partly on how long Troy Glaus channels Harmon Killebrew, the Braves officially will begin a search for his replacement.

Logic says general manager Frank Wren already has a list with a few names.  But if he lost it in a drawer, it’s no big deal. The search just got a whole lot easier. The Florida Marlins fired manager Fredi Gonzalez Wednesday morning. This would be a good time for Wren to phone Gonzalez and see if he would be willing to accept a job as special consultant in charge of, I dunno, looking for a new house.

I’ve written about Gonzalez in the past, most recently when he earned the respect of his peers and the players in the Marlins’ clubhouse by benching the immature Hanley Ramirez (click here) for laziness. He is a former Braves coach who has managed winning teams in Florida despite a minuscule payroll, little fan support and, perhaps worst of all, a knucklehead for an owner (Jeffrey Loria).

Loria considered hiring Bobby Valentine after last season. When it was reported, he denied doing any such thing. I’m guessing Loria also produced BP’s oil spill estimates.

Loria fired Gonzalez after the Marlins started the season 34-36. In a sense, the firing was expected. Gonzalez was set up for a fall in spring training, when Loria declared that he considered Florida a playoff team.

Not that the Marlins could compete for the playoffs. But that they WERE a playoff team.

“I expect us to make the playoffs,” Loria said. “We’ve got all the ammunition we need.”

What a yutz.

For the record, the Marlins’ $57 million payroll on opening day ranked 26th out of 30 teams. In the National League East, they trail Philadelphia ($141.9 million, fourth),  New York ($134.4 million, fifth), the Braves ($84.4 million, 15th) and even Washington ($61.4 million, 23rd).

When a team has a lower payroll than the Washington Nationals, the owner should respond by building bronze statues for a manager that goes 34-36, not by firing him.

Gonzalez never publicly complained. “You feel like, as a manager or coach, whatever players you get, you feel like you can win with,” he said about the payroll.

Gonzalez shouldn’t feel too bad. Loria also has fired Joe Girardi in 2006, even though Girardi was named National League Manager of the Year. Three years later, Girardi won a World Series with the New York Yankees.

We perceive Braves owner Liberty Media as a bottom-line corporation that doesn’t really care about the baseball product. But if owners were historical rulers, then Loria is Napoleon and Liberty Media is Alexander The Great by comparison.

No problem. This could be a blessing for the Braves.

If the Braves have a strong season — and postseason — I believe hitting coach Terry Pendleton will be strongly considered by Wren as Cox’s replacement. But anything other than a strong October and I think Wren will look outside the organization.

That shouldn’t even be an issue now. The Braves should see if Gonzalez is open to a position with the organization immediately, whether as consultant or pro scout. The final managerial decision can be made later. Get him in the fold now.

Something tells me Gonzalez is not going to be unemployed for long.

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

Last five posts on instant replay (no charge)

Michael Turner finally admitting the obvious: He was fat

Hawks can’t afford to slide back (and why not Chris Paul?)

Will Hawks draft player (Crawford) who dunked on LeBron?

It’s time for Braves to end the Kawakami experiment

Does Josh Childress fit into Hawks’ plans?

199 comments Add your comment

bruce

June 23rd, 2010
12:59 pm

cool thoughts

Jason

June 23rd, 2010
12:59 pm

Ala Doc

June 23rd, 2010
1:00 pm

Poorly worded headline. Should read “Braves should waste no time hiring him”.

Jason

June 23rd, 2010
1:00 pm

damnit – anyways, i love fredi – he is good with young players and with the youth movement we are seeing, could be a good fit…

East Cobb Ron

June 23rd, 2010
1:02 pm

Jeff, he doesn’t need to look for a new house. He already lives in East Cobb. Maybe he can be incharge of helping Bobby smoke those cigars that Ozzie gave him last night.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

June 23rd, 2010
1:02 pm

Chipper as HC- Please, Please do not make TP manager. How much influence JS do you think Hank Aaron has in the matter?

bruce

June 23rd, 2010
1:02 pm

who is something and what do they know when they tell you things? :)

Ala Doc

June 23rd, 2010
1:03 pm

Nice correction

Jeff

June 23rd, 2010
1:05 pm

Hire him fast!!!!

All I'm Saying...

June 23rd, 2010
1:06 pm

Wow, this is great and proves that Loria is an idiot of huge proportions. You’re darn right we should hire Fredi and I say, shoot, install him as our bench manager. As a known entity, he’d fit right in with Bobby, Roger, TP, etc. and would likely really help us to get some of our top flight talent (e.g. Escobar) to continue to mature.

LET’S GO BRAVES!

Sleeze

June 23rd, 2010
1:06 pm

No doubt Freddy’s the man for the job. But there would be one good thing about Pendleton becoming manager… he couldn’t be the batting coach anymore..

rudy

June 23rd, 2010
1:08 pm

terry pendleton deserves the job more…seriously

Reid Adair

June 23rd, 2010
1:08 pm

I agree 100 percent. Get Fredi Gonzalez locked in with some role now, and announce him as the manager as soon as appropriate after the end of the season.

Anyone who follows baseball knows that the Marlins’ ownership and off-the-field managements is worse than the Braves’. They did Gonzalez a favor by firing him.

Cracker Jacket

June 23rd, 2010
1:09 pm

Hope Braves are smart enough to hire him!!! Please no TP!

Ramblin Wrecker

June 23rd, 2010
1:10 pm

Sleeze,

Are you serious? First in NL in runs, OBP, walks, doubles, first in NL East. What exactly does TP need to do differently?

brandon

June 23rd, 2010
1:11 pm

I’d like to see Fredi as our future manager. I’m suspect about TP being the manager, but one person the Braves have on their staff right now does impress me a lot if we can’t get Fredi…Eddie Perez perhaps? Former catchers make pretty dang good managers. Why doesn’t Eddie’s name float around much as a possibility???

bakerman

June 23rd, 2010
1:15 pm

Surely the phone call has already been made. Hire him in any capacity, then do anything to kick TP to the curb so Hank can’t influence a TP hire as manager.

kent

June 23rd, 2010
1:15 pm

Why does having little fan support make it more difficiult to manage?

TONE

June 23rd, 2010
1:15 pm

3 reasons it will never happen

1) it makes sense
2) it makes baseball sense
3) Jeff suggested it (kiss of death)

but if i am wrong and he gets hired what do you want to bet his cake says welcome to atlanta Tony Gonzalez

Anton Chigurh

June 23rd, 2010
1:16 pm

Snap him up. Thanks fish!

Portly

June 23rd, 2010
1:18 pm

Ramblin Wrecker

June 23rd, 2010
1:18 pm

I think TP should be the next manager. That’s not a knock on Fredi. I wouldn’t be upset if they hire Fredi. But I think TP is the guy. If anybody has heard interviews with him, you’d notice that this year’s Braves team has more of a TP personality. TP played under Whitey Herzog in St. Louis during the days of Vince Coleman, Willie McGee, Ozzie Smith, etc. and he very much believes in that style of baseball (stealing, hit-n-run, move runners over, put pressure on defense). TP is also old school when it comes to being tough. He once walked off the field when Marvin Freeman refused to protect his teammates by hitting Tim Belcher. That’s what I want in a manager. I don’t know that Fredi believes in that style of play or toughness. But I want TP. Then you hire Chipper Jones as the hitting coach.

mountain_jim

June 23rd, 2010
1:18 pm

another No to TP

Ramblin Wrecker

June 23rd, 2010
1:20 pm

And TP turned down the job that Fredi just got fired from because he wants this job. And given the culture change in offensive discipline on this team, I don’t think you can dismiss TP as effective.

TP won’t be here next year if he’s not the manager.

Chip Caray's Eyebrows

June 23rd, 2010
1:21 pm

100% agree Schultzie. Call him today, give him all the time he needs and let him no there is a postion as a scout/assistant to the gm waiting for him. This guy got screwed so bad down there. He had a horrible owner, low payroll, and they still competed. Imagine what he could do with twice the money.

JLC

June 23rd, 2010
1:22 pm

This is a no-brainer. Keep Pendleton on the staff, but you have to get Fredi in here before someone else does.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by . said: [...]

DawginLex

June 23rd, 2010
1:23 pm

Said this before the season started. Agree 100%

TONE

June 23rd, 2010
1:23 pm

TP he’s TOUGH!!!!!!!
like John Wayne
rough and tough and ETC.

Big Al

June 23rd, 2010
1:27 pm

Sleeze

June 23rd, 2010
1:28 pm

Rambling Wrecker, he could become the next batting coach for GA Tech. I’d be okay with that.. 2 months of improvement does not make up for years of poor pitch selection, lack of bunting skills, unwillingness to go the other way, etc.

Delbert D.

June 23rd, 2010
1:29 pm

Sund, wake up…do it now!

PMC

June 23rd, 2010
1:29 pm

Keep in mind that spending they did to retain Hanley and a couple great pitchers… was league mandated for the most part. Loria’s out of his freaking goard.

I’d be happy to have Freddi Gonzalez represent the Braves.

Captain Morgan

June 23rd, 2010
1:29 pm

I’m afraid TP would be too much in the Cox mold. They should look for something different!

Anton Chigurh

June 23rd, 2010
1:30 pm

That’s funny Delbert. Uh, wait … that was a joke, right?

Dr. Warren

June 23rd, 2010
1:31 pm

Getting sentimental and hiring TP would be a big mistake. Cryonism sinks businesses. I gotta agree with Jeff on this one.

BC

June 23rd, 2010
1:31 pm

I am amazed they would even consider Pendleton if Gonzalez is available. Fredi should be the first and only choice.

Dr. Warren

June 23rd, 2010
1:32 pm

Delbert D.

June 23rd, 2010
1:34 pm

I liked Pendleton as a player, but he seems to be inert as a coach. I can’t recall seeing him move while the camera is on him.

Delbert D.

June 23rd, 2010
1:39 pm

Aw, the heck with it. Fire Sund, promote Bobby Cox to GM/Manager for the rest of the season, and let him hire Gonzalez. The let Bobby keep the GM job next year. That’s what he was when the Braves got him from Toronto.

Ramblin Wrecker

June 23rd, 2010
1:40 pm

Sleeze,

Good thing you aren’t making this decision.

I think for anybody who’s been paying attention that TP’s message has been consistent and those people who didn’t listen (Francoeur, Andruw Jones) have been weeded out.

The decisions to bunt, hit-n-run, steal etc. lie with Bobby Cox. For whatever reason, he’s doing more of that. TP is on record as being in favor of that style of play. And I think we’ve seen the results of that change in style. If you choose to ignore that, feel free. But what you can’t say is that TP is not a worthy candidate for manager.

George

June 23rd, 2010
1:42 pm

Hiring Fredi now would be viewed by many in and out of the organization as a lock on the manager’s job for 2011. This may cause some friction within a playoff contending team and organization. With that said I believe him to be the best candidate with TP moving on and possibly Chipper taking over the batting coach role if he has an interest. How to do all of this and make a commitment to Fredi without causing problems will be very difficult. If this is the route that is going to be taken be upfront and do it with everyone knowing now; including Terry.

Hollywould

June 23rd, 2010
1:43 pm

Can Gonzalez coach hockey too?

Frank Wren

June 23rd, 2010
1:43 pm

Man, you keep it up, Delbert. I’m rolling on the floor over here. Uh, wait … you are joking, right?

Michael

June 23rd, 2010
1:44 pm

all in favor BUT he is being paid under Florida contract thru 2011 so hiring him now would most likely mean also paying him at managers salary level….which I am OK with.

Jack

June 23rd, 2010
1:46 pm

Another poorly written article by Schultz. It must easy to get a job at the AJC. Totally agree Ramblin Wrecker

T'VILLE DAWG

June 23rd, 2010
1:46 pm

I’ve been saying for quite a while that he should be looked at very hard, what with him constantly playing new players and them playing that well, but once again this makes to much sense. Good luck coach in the new position you’ll get any day now from any team but the Braves.

Mr. Phil

June 23rd, 2010
1:48 pm

Schultz,

You make a compelling argument. But the question is (and has been) whether Liberty Media or Frank Wren are particularly interested in winning. I have seen no evidence that any such interest exists.

DrewDawg

June 23rd, 2010
1:48 pm

I agree with this whole heartedly! Come on Freddie

Walker, Texas Ranger

June 23rd, 2010
1:48 pm

I agree with Rambling Wrecker. I gained a lot of respect for TP the day he walked off the field because of the lack of retaliation. Also, baseball is headed back to the Cardinals 80’s style of baseball. You will see teams draft for speed and pitching and TP is experienced. I wouldn’t have a problem with Fredi either. Didn’t Joe Geradi get the ax for doing the same job in Florida. Either guy would be OK with me. Dang I’m torn.