Gonzalez keeps Pendleton but not as hitting coach (UPDATED)

The future of Braves hitting coach Terry Pendleton is uncertain right now.

Terry Pendleton has been moved from hitting coach to first base and infield coach.

(This is a rewrite of an earlier blog. Last updated at 5:45 p.m.)

New Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez apparently agreed with Braves fans who felt the team needed a new hitting coach. He just didn’t agree with them that Terry Pendleton should be removed altogether.

This morning’s blog on whether Pendleton and pitching coach Roger McDowell should be kept by Bobby Cox’s replacement stirred a lot of emotions. After over 3,000 votes, McDowell was an overwhelming popular choice to be kept as pitching coach (91 percent were in favor), but Pendleton didn’t experience the same popularity. Over 40 percent of respondents wanted him fired, 36 percent wanted him removed as pitching coach but kept on the team in another role and 24 percent voted to keep him in the same capacity.

The middle group won. Gonzalez did not name a new hitting coach Wednesday at his hastily called introductory press conference — which originally was scheduled for Thursday — but he did announce these changes:

♦ Pendleton will be removed as hitting coach but will be retained as first base and infield coach. General manager Frank Wren said: “It was time for a new voice [on hitting]. Terry’s really excited about having more influence in the game.”

♦ McDowell (pitching coach), Eddie Perez (bullpen coach) and Brian Snitker (third base coach) will be retained.

♦ First base coach Glenn Hubbard and bench coach Chino Cadahia will not be kept. Carlos Tosca, who was with Gonzalez in Florida, becomes the new bench coach.

Should hitting coach Terry Pendleton be kept?

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Should pitching coach Roger McDowell be kept?

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All in all, the Pendleton move probably was a nice compromise, although I still believe he took way too much heat for the Braves’ hitting problems. Immediately after word leaked that the Braves were going to hire Gonzalez, speculation about Pendleton and McDowell started. Pendleton was a lightning rod every time a player went into a slump or the team struggled offensively. But he never received any credit for the success stories (Martin Prado, Brian McCann, Omar Infante, Jason Heyward, etc.).

Also, most seemed to forget this roster wasn’t exactly stacked with offensive talent.

McDowell has been terrific. Any criticism of him seems to stem from the blind loyalists to former pitching coach Leo Mazzone. The Braves have finished third in the majors in team earned run average in each of the last two seasons. Why replace him?

Gonzalez could’ve kept the entire staff but that never seemed likely. Managers in baseball, like head coaches in football, generally like to bring in some of their own people. A head football coach almost always brings in his own offensive line coach and his own coordinators. That possibly was mitigated somewhat because Gonzalez used to coach with the Braves but changes nonetheless seemed inevitable.

The only other question was whether Pendleton, who may have managing aspirations, wanted out when he didn’t get the top job. But he has long expressed a desire to remain living in Atlanta and obviously wanted to stayed in the organization. It’s also worth noting that he and Gonzalez are friends (as are Gonzalez and McDowell).

There’s your update. I’ll leave the two polls open if y0u still want to vote but at this stage I wouldn’t expect a change in percentages.

So what are your thoughts on the coaching changes?

EARLIER TODAY:

Fredi Gonzalez is Braves’ perfect choice to replace Cox

Challenge of Cox’s replacement will be recreating chemistry

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

341 comments Add your comment

War Eagle

October 13th, 2010
11:33 am

Ted Striker

October 13th, 2010
11:33 am

I’m hopeful that the organization would have enough confidence in their new manager so as not to second guess him. Although that’s not a given.

Rich T

October 13th, 2010
11:34 am

I think both have done things to show proof why they should remain in place, but I doubt the staff will remain fully intact. I would bet Pendleton is most likely to go before McDowell, based on the fact that offense is the bigger issue right now. However, just as Cox did his best managing in 2010, it could be argued Pendleton did his best coaching job this year as well.

Dawggie

October 13th, 2010
11:37 am

I am SICK AND TIRED of watching our players go up there, and pretty much lay the bat down on the first pitch. It became a major part of the opposition’s scouting report, without a doubt. WAY too often, the opposing pitcher would throw a nice, juicy, 91 mph fast ball, straight down the middle, while we just watch it. All of a sudden we are behind in the count, and could not lay off the slider in the dirt or the outside curve ball, out of desperation as a resultof hitting from behind. Heyward was the WORST.

I hope to god either Terry changes his philosophy on first pitch aggression, or goes and finds a job in the minors somewhere.

YOU MUST SWING IN ORDER TO WIN!!!!!

Last

October 13th, 2010
11:37 am

Ditch everyone but Eddie Perez, you need his levity and ability to catch in the bullpen :)

I’d hire Leo back and ask Chipper if he would be a player/hitting coach. I think chipper should play some 3rd against righties and 1st against lefties, but make Prado and Freeman the everyday players (unless Freeman flops)

War Eagle

October 13th, 2010
11:37 am

Let Fredi do what we hired him to do, coach a baseball team with the goal of winning. However he sees fit to do that is how it should be done.

5150 P.O.A.D

October 13th, 2010
11:37 am

Terry needs to go just because he needs to go. If Bobby was still there Terry still needed to be replaced.

joe

October 13th, 2010
11:39 am

Keep McD, Leo is past his prime…ax Pendelton. Bring in the TX Rangers hitting coach if possible. He straightened out Andrew Jone and Francour when nobody else could.

War Eagle

October 13th, 2010
11:39 am

Hire Chipper in some regard as well, that is if he decides not to play next year.

Chopper

October 13th, 2010
11:39 am

Atlanta Braves: Where mediocre offensive players leave to become GREAT, and great offensive players come to be MEDIOCRE.

And how is this not a direct relationtothe offensive coaching??

Benjamin

October 13th, 2010
11:43 am

Don Baylor’s been the only hitting coach in Atlanta history that was revered for his work, and he was here for one year. lol

I’m TP neutral.

Dawggie

October 13th, 2010
11:45 am

Dear Jason Heyward,

The goal of a MLB batter is not to go up to seek a walk in every career at bat. I know your hitting coach has told you if you swing at any of the first 3 pitches you see, you will be sent back to Single A ball, but you will have more success being aggressive early in the count. Trust me, your next hitting coach, hopefully in 2011, will get the potential you possess to explode out on the scene.

And one more thing, stand a little bit closer to the plate. You make a ball that paints the outside corner look like it’s 3 feet outside, yet it’s truly a strike. Maybe thats one reason you don’t swing, because where you are standing, it does indeed look like a ball. Your next hitting coach, hopefully in 2011, will explain this to you further.

GOOD RIDDANCE TP!!!! You were done to me in 93′

lilhomer

October 13th, 2010
11:45 am

TP has to go…no offense for years…i think the stats show a mediocre .250-.270 hitting team during his tenure…granted the pitching is better in the ML, but every one of the braves prospect’s average his declined once exposed to TP’s coaching…mccann has his dad..francouer had the texas coach….and chipper…had his dad…the others had nowhere to go but TP and look what he’s done…or NOT done for them…there doesnt seem to be a ‘hitting strategy’ on the braves…swing for the fence and get lucky…TP has to go…..

cooper3271

October 13th, 2010
11:46 am

Last
I’ll second what you said. Good start.If the Braves led the national league in home runs I could understand how nobody except a few of the pitchers can bunt.

washedup

October 13th, 2010
11:47 am

I’d love to see Leo coaching again just so he’d quit screwing up morning talk radio. .what an irritating laugh. .followed by nothing of note to contribute.

Michael

October 13th, 2010
11:49 am

How can you say Pendelton is solid? The Braves haven’t hit at all the entire time he’s been there. How many Braves pitchers has Sutton or Simpson said time and time again “IF” they could only get run support. He is TERRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If Chipper retires – hire Chipper, he and his dad would make a great team.

John

October 13th, 2010
11:49 am

You cannot use Heyward as an argument for the acumen of TP. Heyward had a nice season, sure, but who out there really thinks that he’s not capable of so much more. Also, what is the sense of basing your opinion off of the success of 3 players on a roster of 14 that swing the bat? And of those that you mentioned McCann gets his coaching from his dad while Prado hit .316 his last year in AAA. There are many more cases of hitters regressing the longer they are under TP’s tutelage. TP needs to go! I’d be ok with hiring McCann’s dad, but I think that seat should be warm for Chipper when he hangs ‘em up.

Reid Adair

October 13th, 2010
11:51 am

It wouldn’t surprise me to see Fredi Gonzalez keep Terry Pendleton and Roger McDowell; it also wouldn’t surprise me to see him replace one or both of them.

If he chooses to go a different direction with one or both spots, it will be interesting to see who he chooses. Personally, I would hope it would not be either the hitting coach or the pitching coach from Florida.

godawgs678

October 13th, 2010
11:51 am

PLEASE for the love of all things Holy don’t let TP be the batting coach anymore! Am I crazy or was he just a little above average at the plate in his career? Never a ton of power and his career average is below .275. Oh and can the Braves please start spending a little more on some big name players? I know that they cost more money, but if they would get past that and realize that if they would spend some money on a big name player they would make up for it with more people coming to the Ted to see them play, jersey sales, etc. I am tired of having to rely on players like Conrad. I’m not saying we need a roster full of 10-20 million dollar a year players…BUT it would be nice to not have to rely on B-Mac and Chipper for EVERYTHING! Ok, I am done now

Captain Lou Albano

October 13th, 2010
11:52 am

After the job McDowell did with Lowe turning his season around, you got to keep him around. I mean if Lowe pitches like this next season, that 16 million dollars he’s getting paid doesn’t hurt so much. TP has got to go. We need a more experienced and reliable hitting coach. We got some young players who need better direction than what TP can provide.

John

October 13th, 2010
11:54 am

TP wasn’t even great when he played. He struck out twice as many times as walked and hit very well in only two seasons. The Braves didn’t bring him in for his offensive prowess, he was a gold glove 3B. I’d be cool with him being a fielding coach along with Hubbard.

mountain_jim

October 13th, 2010
11:54 am

Another vote to keep McD, axe Pendelton. I also am tired of seeing all the hitters take the first and best (fastball down the middle) pitch they will see for a strike, then swing at the next 2 in the dirt.

Gene

October 13th, 2010
11:54 am

Last,
Your philosophy on Chipper makes absolutely no sense. I’m not even going to try and comprehend that. Why he would play a different position against different pitchers is beyond me. Plus, he’s not a first baseman. And Leo? He’s a radio guy now. He’s done. Roger does a fantastic job. That’s crazy. You must be a Mets fan.

Observer

October 13th, 2010
11:55 am

Pendleton has done a solid job?

Maybe when he was a third baseman. His performance as a hitting coach has been underwhelming at best. Almost everybody in the lineup underperformed this year. In the midst of his hitting woes, Jeff Francoeur went so far as to seek the advice of another team’s hitting coach. Enough said. TP needs to go.

Mike Smith

October 13th, 2010
11:58 am

McDowell needs to stay for sure. The offense has struggled most of the last two years though. Pendleton hasnt done a bad job. Its not like he has had a top flight lineup to work with. While the Phillies and other teams stock up on hitters, the Braves have been relegated to rookies and journeymen. The question is, if you get rid of him, is there someone truly better out there?

I would say probably not.

Hooters Girl

October 13th, 2010
11:58 am

You know my wittle Chippy Wippy would make a good hitting coach.

Supes

October 13th, 2010
11:58 am

Terry P. must go. Roger McDowell needs to be retained. The work he did with Tommy Hanson, Kris Medlen and esp. Derek Lowe was spectacular this year.

Simple as that. Also Eddie Perez needs to be kept in some capacity. Wouldn’t mind seeing him as our 3B coach from now on.

Fredi Gonzalez also needs to name Chipper Jones a player/coach in spring training, have him be a hitting instructor after he retires. Chipper knows the art of hitting a baseball better than Terry P, for sure.

The Bream Team

October 13th, 2010
11:59 am

Terry P. has parlayed that 91 season into more than anyone could have possibly imagined.

perk

October 13th, 2010
12:00 pm

who was on his staff in Miami?

Keith

October 13th, 2010
12:01 pm

I know, Jeff, I was surprised when I read that from Bowman without him giving any sources that substantiated that speculation. Of course, that is the nature of speculation…it’s just that. Maybe he knows more that he’s not telling. Maybe he doesn’t.

McDowell did a fine job with the most overt example in Derek Lowe. I think you must keep him. TP is an interesting quandry. I’m not sure why people have been so hard on him. Both Infante and Prado have pretty much come out of nowhere during the last 2 years….maybe that is a testament to him, who knows?

As far as not being aggressive in the count, this team for the most part of the season was patient. THey lead the league in walks for most of the year…I know our offense hasn’t been stellar, but I think that is mostly a problem that TP could not solve.

It will be interesting. I wonder if tomorrow Freddi will say who he’s keeping…

GO FALCONS! :)

SimpleDawg

October 13th, 2010
12:08 pm

Keep McDowell and Hubby for sure….Perez and Snitker also.

Chipper for hitting coach if he decides to not play….heck let him be the hitting coach either way.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jeff Gordon, Matthew Verden and Nathan Faulkner, Jeff Schultz. Jeff Schultz said: Does Gonzalez’ hiring mean Pendleton is out of job? http://bit.ly/9VH3fF [...]

eeebayou

October 13th, 2010
12:12 pm

I feel bad for TP, as word has it that he was PROMISED the managerial job and turned down other opportunities to leave the organization. That being said, why can’t the Braves hire Brook Jacoby from the Reds? The Reds’ hitters really blossomed under his instruction and Jacoby has ties to the team as a former player as well.

chrisk

October 13th, 2010
12:13 pm

tb is terrible.

Mike

October 13th, 2010
12:14 pm

Fredi should….

Replace TP as hitting coach (if he keeps him in another role, I dont mind)
Keep McDowell
Keep Perez
Keep Hubbard
Ditch Snikter

Vino Fino

October 13th, 2010
12:15 pm

I’ve never once read where a single player credited Pendleton for their improved hitting or for snapping out of a slump. In fact, you only read about players turning to their fathers, each other, or someone outside the organization (only to hurt TP’s feelings in that case). Seems pretty clear that TP does not have the player’s respect as an effective hitting coach. Loved what he did as a player here, but it’s time for him to go.

If nothing else, sometimes a different perspective is needed. Look what happend when the Phillies fired their hitting coach this year. And he was a guy who had the top offense in the league for at least the two previous seasons.

Phil

October 13th, 2010
12:21 pm

TP might be a good guy, but he’s a clown as a hitting coach.

Hunter the Umpire

October 13th, 2010
12:22 pm

Pendleton you are so out of here,keep eddie!

gcs

October 13th, 2010
12:24 pm

This Pendleton blame-game in unfair. There is only so much a hitting coach can do.
The Braves were third in MLB is on-base percentage and walks behind the Yankees & Twins and the Rays & Yanks. They were 7th in sacrifice bunts.
To me, these are the kinds of things a hitting coach can teach.

That said, I still think Freddi needs to come in and make this HIS team. He needs to reassign some of these guys.

.

Greg Norton

October 13th, 2010
12:26 pm

A season of me as your hitting coach and you’ll be begging TP to come back.

Milos

October 13th, 2010
12:29 pm

Theron Sapp

October 13th, 2010
12:29 pm

Perk (12:00) asks what would seem to be the relevant question. Who were Gonzalez’ hitting and pitching coaches in Florida, and are they available?

A new era of Braves baseball

October 13th, 2010
12:30 pm

Baker

October 13th, 2010
12:32 pm

I voted to keep TP but in another capacity only because I like him and want him to stay. Hitting coach is the worst spot to be in baseball as far I’m concerned. He’s done a great job there I think, but hitting coaches are inevitably always on the hot seat.

SG10

October 13th, 2010
12:38 pm

It is hard to judge how much role hitting coach plays..Didn’t Phillies fire their hitting coach this season when they were in slump? Obviously, they didn’t cut him any slack for all the great offensive years that Phillies have had in past…

With McDowell, it is easy.. I mean several pitchers have openly credited him for their success.. Look at Lowe as the recent example. Our pitching has continued to get better and deliver..we were 2nd best in the league, despite some awful stats of J Reyes. I haven’t read too many comments from the hitters how much TP has helped so it is difficult to judge..

Jimmy Crack

October 13th, 2010
12:39 pm

Should we keep TP? No, no, and more emphatically, HECK NO!

His job title should have been changed years ago from “Hitting Coach” to “Season Ticket Holder With Great Seats Who Also Travels With The Team”.

Braves Fan Since "80

October 13th, 2010
12:40 pm

Supes …. You apparantly do not know about TP…… TP hit for better avg, better fielder, better situational hitter than Chipper……. Chipper does not have the makeup to be a hitting coach….. he was a great clutch hitter…. but is a double play machine…….. You do not make the bigs in need of a hitting coach…… If anything we need to fire minor leauge hitting instructors……. If chipper were a great batting instructor he would have had an influence on this team…..”hit it through the wall”

James

October 13th, 2010
12:43 pm

Did bad hitters tend to get better, or good hitters worse, under Pendleton? Anyone know off the top of their head? Seems like Martin and Omar are really good examples of career lower avg. guys improving under Pendleton.

J.T.

October 13th, 2010
12:44 pm

Keep T.P. he is not the blame get some players that can hit then judge him.

Dr. Phil

October 13th, 2010
12:45 pm

Fredi should pick his own staff. Next topic.