Fredi Gonzalez is Braves’ perfect choice to replace Cox

Fredi: The Braves have a jersey that will fit a little better than that one.

Fredi: The Braves have a jersey that will fit a little better than that one.

From the moment he inexplicably was fired as the Florida Marlins’ manager — and maybe even before — Fredi Gonzalez looked like the obvious choice to replace the Braves’ Bobby Cox.

Apparently, it was so obvious that Cox’s desk chair won’t have a chance to get cold.

Our David O’Brien is reporting that Gonzalez, the former Braves coach, will be introduced as the Braves’ new manager on Thursday — one day after Cox is scheduled to hold his going away news conference at Turner Field and three days after the team was eliminated in the National League Division Series.

If the timing is surprising, the choice isn’t.

Earlier Tuesday, I posted a column saying that the challenge of Cox’s replacement will be recreating the same clubhouse chemistry that Cox helped cultivate this year. Gonzalez will do that.

Braves general manager Frank Wren could not have made a better decision. Gonzalez is liked and respected by players. That was the case as a coach in Atlanta and the manager in Florida, despite being fired by Jeffrey Loria, the Marlins’ clueless owner. Loria is the same classless moron who ordered his team to not honor the retiring Cox in the Braves’ final visit in Florida, making Florida the only organization to do so. (Cox had criticized Loria for Gonzalez’ firing, and the truth apparently doesn’t go over well with him.)

I’ve banged the drum for Gonzalez before:

♦ Here when he benched the petulant Hanley Ramirez.

Here when he was let go by the Marlins.

Gonzalez, who has maintained his home in Marietta, had winning teams in Florida in 2008 and 2009 despite working with the lowest payroll in the majors. He is like Cox in many ways in that he’s honest and up front with players, keeps an open line of communication and expects only hard work and unselfish play in return. He can be unlike Cox in that he will call out a player publicly if he is pushed to, as in the Ramirez case.

He does not play favorites, and that plays well in the clubhouse. Ramirez is Florida’s best player. But Gonzalez pulled him for loafing after a ball, then benched him the next night for throwing a fit and ripping his manager publicly.

Ramirez was quoted as saying:: “He never played in the big leagues,” and added: “It’s his team. He can do whatever he [expletive] wants.” He and Loria deserve each other.

Somehow, Gonzalez took the fall. But Gonzalez will end up with a better job, and the Braves will end up with the perfect replacement for Cox.

EARLIER TODAY:

Challenge of Cox’s replacement will be recreating chemistry

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306 comments Add your comment

Robards

October 12th, 2010
10:12 pm

kj the gold glove winner

October 12th, 2010
10:13 pm

Joe Tess Fish House

October 12th, 2010
10:14 pm

FIST!!

This is a dum hire. Gonzales has a record. How is this better than Cox? They should of have hired John Smolts

Joe Tess Fish House

October 12th, 2010
10:14 pm

I meant to say he has a loosing record…..And I was not first

Tony

October 12th, 2010
10:16 pm

Thanks, Bobby. Welcome home, Fredi.

South Georgia

October 12th, 2010
10:20 pm

I think it’s a great choice. Hopefully, he will incorporate more bunting and base stealing and teach Braves how to hit with runners in scoring position.

South Georgia

October 12th, 2010
10:21 pm

We have wasted great pitching for two straight years with our lack of run production.

Joe Tess Fish House

October 12th, 2010
10:22 pm

How can this be a good hire if he has a loosing record? This is a huge misteak.

Eric

October 12th, 2010
10:23 pm

Joe Tess Fish House, you meant to say YOU are a loser.

Bobby C

October 12th, 2010
10:23 pm

What will Fredi’s number be? 2-3’s = 6 right?

Steve

October 12th, 2010
10:25 pm

“Joe Tess” congrats. Your post was one of the dumbest one ever posted. It was the perfect hire. Oh and who is John Smolts? Also, what does “dum” mean?

Vino Fino

October 12th, 2010
10:26 pm

Jeff- any idication which coaches will stay?

Bobby C

October 12th, 2010
10:26 pm

Who will the “new” hitting coach be? TP will probably leave or get canned

atlwolf

October 12th, 2010
10:26 pm

Joe Tess Fish House, you are an idiot who obviously knows nothing about baseball or basic grammar. Get out of here.

extremus

October 12th, 2010
10:26 pm

Well that’s one thing off the ol’ offseason checklist for the Braves. I’m glad to see they’re not wasting any time getting started in addressing the team’s needs. I think Fredi will be an excellent new manager for the Braves, hopefully for many happy years to come for the team and the fans.

Congratulations Fredi and Go Braves in 2011!!!!!

Steve

October 12th, 2010
10:26 pm

Misteak? Learn to spell moron.

Joe Tess Fish House

October 12th, 2010
10:28 pm

I can post my ideals without name calling. U gys need 2 do the same.

THis is a dum hire. Loosing is contagous and Gonazles will bring that disases here.

Bobby C

October 12th, 2010
10:29 pm

Chipper will retire (hitting coach?)

75years

October 12th, 2010
10:29 pm

Need to wait and see what kind of coaching staff we get

linda jenkins

October 12th, 2010
10:30 pm

i think that they should try to find leon mazzinoe and make him the general manager for the braves. he is so close to the braves. or hired tom glavine for the general manager for the braves also.

Finchdawg

October 12th, 2010
10:31 pm

Joe Tess Fish House, I’m not going to call you a name, but you do need to learn to spell at least simple words. Not doing so makes your opinion seem much less intelligent.

bjohndawg

October 12th, 2010
10:31 pm

Just an awesome hire! Nuff Said.

Vino Fino

October 12th, 2010
10:31 pm

Wow, some people really shouldn’t be allowed to own a computer.

Lowcountry Brave

October 12th, 2010
10:31 pm

I couldn’t be happier with this hire.

Black Coffee & Bourbon

October 12th, 2010
10:31 pm

Great hire by the Braves! He did a great job in South Florida in a crap market with no $ and a clown for an owner. Freddy should do very well in Atlanta!

Bobby C

October 12th, 2010
10:31 pm

Mazzone as pitching coach would be good

Joe Tess Fish House

October 12th, 2010
10:32 pm

I here Leo on the radio and he is nice guy but he only no pitchin

atlwolf

October 12th, 2010
10:32 pm

Will you just GET OUT OF HERE Joe? Your opinions are garbage, just like your English. Any Braves fan who knows anything about baseball and Fredi Gonzalez will be happy with this hiring. Shut your mouth and get the heck outta here you ignoramus.

MitchC

October 12th, 2010
10:32 pm

Jeff, upon thinking about it, this is probably a good move. In a way, it’s almost like deja vu.

Bobby is fired by Ted Turner in 1981, goes to Toronto for four years, and then returns as GM. He recruits all of the talent that eventually would turn us into a winner, but, it doesnt happen fast enough, so, after firing Russ Nixon, Bobby and Ted do the safe thing, and Bobby takes the job as manager. It worked out pretty well for 21 years.

I was never against Gonzalez. Until I saw that the players wanted it to happen quickly, I just thought maybe the team should wait a bit, to digest Bobby’s leaving, but, it was no sudden resignation, as we;ve known Bobby was leaving for a year now.

I cant argue with this choice. Hopefully, it will work out well for the Braves.

Reid Adair

October 12th, 2010
10:33 pm

Jeff, you credit this decison to Frank Wren, but this hire has John Schuerholz and Bobby Cox written all over it – thankfully. I was concerned that Wren would be heavily involved, and who knows where that would have led.

This is great news. I like Fredi Gonzalez’s style, particularly how he chose to handle Hanley Ramirez.

Tron5000

October 12th, 2010
10:33 pm

I applaud this move. Keep TP for a year till Chipper retires and takes over for him. From everything I’ve read, sounds like he’s already the favorite among the leaders and veterans in the clubhouse, so that’s great. I’m sure it’s very rare that a transition takes place in such a manner.

C. Tampa Ironworse

October 12th, 2010
10:33 pm

Great hire, I really like Ready Fredi G. Now if we can fire Snikter (3rd base coach) so someone will actually send runners home from third…the Braves will be in GREAT shape.

dirty harry

October 12th, 2010
10:34 pm

Joe Tess,

You missed the part where Jeff mentioned that the Marlins have one of the lowest payrolls and an idiot owner who steals money from Florida taxpayers. Gonzalez was miraculously able to get two winning seasons out of a garbage team like the Marlins.

Idiot.

Bobby C

October 12th, 2010
10:34 pm

Joe needs to advertise somewhere for his business ;)

deja vu

October 12th, 2010
10:34 pm

Why was Florida always such a pain in the ass for the Braves with a third of their payroll? I think Fredi had a lot to do with it. The games I saw, especially the ones that went down to the wire, Gonzalez out-managed Cox consistantly.

skydawg

October 12th, 2010
10:34 pm

@Joe Tess Fish House….he had a slight losing record with one of the lowest, if not the very lowest, payroll in baseball. The Marlins were in the NL East race for parts of all 3 of the past years. Perfect fit and one I think most saw coming. I wouldn’t be surprised if this hadn’t already happened weeks and weeks ago and just kept quiet for respect of Bobby and the Braves run to the playoffs.

The real question is who will stay on the staff. I think most will but for some reason I think Pendleton will move on. Partly for feeling jilted and partly the Braves horrific offensive numbers. Offensive being the operative word. Will be interesting to see.

Chris

October 12th, 2010
10:35 pm

Quite honestly, I’m disappointed. The Braves had a chance to go in new direction and failed…

NC Brave

October 12th, 2010
10:35 pm

1st thought. Perfect hire. The organizational symmetry will continue and never skip a beat.

2nd thought. Is there any way the ajc could block this Joe Tess Fish House person off this forum or any future forums?

Joe Tess Fish House

October 12th, 2010
10:36 pm

I agree with u Chris.

Braves2011

October 12th, 2010
10:36 pm

Joe Tess Fish House – take a deep breath, compose yourself, then try to post a message that makes sense and shows a basic comprehension of the English language.

Tron5000

October 12th, 2010
10:36 pm

Linda Jenkins, Leo Mazzone shouldn’t be hard to find. Call 404-231-1680 weekdays between 6 and 10.

Steve

October 12th, 2010
10:36 pm

Mazzone is nothing people. Look who he had. Look what happened when he went to Baltimore. He was just in the right place at the right time. Roger has done a great job. Look what he did to Lowe in the last few months. The Braves could be realllly good in 2011!

Pauly D

October 12th, 2010
10:36 pm

this is dumb. he sucks. I don’t care if he is friends with bobby, he still sucks. He can’t handle a bullpen worth crap. I’m telling you he will find a way to make us finish 3rd.

Bobby C

October 12th, 2010
10:37 pm

I’m sure Joe speaks English worse than he types

dirty harry

October 12th, 2010
10:37 pm

Did you do your GTL today Pauly?

Joe Tess Fish House

October 12th, 2010
10:37 pm

I did not say that there is an imposer of me. Mr Schults these imposers need 2 be band.

Steve

October 12th, 2010
10:38 pm

Chris explain why this is a bad hire. You obviously don’t know baseball.

Bobby C

October 12th, 2010
10:39 pm

Joe, you just banned yourself from here…..Jeff, dump him now please, after that comment about preteens

Joe Tess Fish House

October 12th, 2010
10:39 pm

Its a bad hire b cuz he has a loosing record.

Chuck

October 12th, 2010
10:39 pm

Why is it whenever I start reading the comments after the piece, I get depressed…?