Should Braves need a manager, I’d consider these guys

Today’s discussion of Bobby Cox leads inevitably to another discussion: If not Cox, then who?

Were I running the Braves and in the market for a manager, I wouldn’t feel bound to recycle the usual names. (Jim Riggleman, Jerry Narron, et al.) Unless I could convince Terry Francona to leave the Red Sox — and I don’t think John Henry and Theo Epstein would let him — I’d look to two coaches.

Neither of them is Terry Pendleton, and here’s why: I think he’ll be a very good manager someday, but I don’t think the man coming after Cox needs to have apprenticed under Cox. (This also applies to Fredi Gonzalez and Ned Yost.) There’s a sense of sameness about the Braves — how could there not be, this manager having been in place 19 years? — that I wouldn’t be sorry to see dissipate. I’d look outside. I’d consider:

Brad Mills, bench coach, Boston Red Sox: He has worked alongside Francona, who was his college roommate, in both Philadelphia and Boston, and I consider the Sox the new model organization. (The Yankees just spend; the Sox spend wisely.) Boston isn’t afraid to dump big names — Nomar, Damon, Manny — and isn’t bound to anything except trying to win the World Series every single season.

The Braves' next manager should be:

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The Boston approach to actual baseball is similarly forward-thinking. The Red Sox take pitches and work the count. They rely so heavily on statistical data they even hired Bill James as a consultant, and Mills is one of the few actual baseball men who’ll use the word “sabermetrics” in conversation. I’m not saying the Braves don’t look at numbers — they do, every day — but few teams look harder than Boston.

Jose Oquendo, third-base coach, St. Louis Cardinals: He’s the velvet glove to Tony La Russa’s iron fist. He was a utility player of immense value — remember him pitching four innings, the first three scoreless, against the Braves in a 19-inning game in May 1988? — and is considered the leading candidate to succeed La Russa. (Pendleton’s name comes up often in that conversation, you should know.) But maybe La Russa isn’t yet ready to retire, and maybe Oquendo is ready to run a team of his own.

He has forged a bond with Albert Pujols, which isn’t as easy as you might think: Pujols can be prickly. That speaks well of Oquendo’s people skills, and also of his eye for value. (Pujols is a rather important Redbird.) And studying under La Russa is among the better ways to learn. Some baseball people despise La Russa for presenting himself as this high-falutin’ Man of the Arts, but he’s smart and he’s analytical and he was among the first to deploy stats as a weapon.

135 comments Add your comment

Bring Ned Yost Here!

June 18th, 2009
1:49 pm

To me it’s a short list, and this is the guy. Got shafted in Milwaukee as he build that team job with not a lot of money.

Ken

June 18th, 2009
1:56 pm

How about Phillip Wellman? He certainly has fire in HIS gut….lol

Bring Ned Yost Here!

June 18th, 2009
2:01 pm

Whoever thinks TP should be the manager is out of their mind. He isn’t even a good batting coach. “The Chosen One” (a.k.a our Right Fielder) is a testament to that.

gtdave

June 18th, 2009
2:01 pm

Freddie may not be a bad one either, but I like the Yost pick.

Chris

June 18th, 2009
2:02 pm

Not Ned. Not after the way he acted the second half of that failed season in Milwaukee. May be a great guy, but he soured in my taste.

Joe Fan

June 18th, 2009
2:09 pm

Wellman or Yost with Cox moving in as GM.

Jack G.

June 18th, 2009
2:09 pm

How about throwing Don Mattingly into the mix?

FreeMikeVick

June 18th, 2009
2:12 pm

I remember when Bobby Cox smacked his wife around and he did not go to jail……Whitey at work again.

Shoulda Woulda Coulda

June 18th, 2009
2:14 pm

GIVE ME LEO MAZZONE AS MANAGER …OR CHIPPER WHEN HE RETIRES

Shoulda Woulda Coulda

June 18th, 2009
2:15 pm

Enter your comments here

New Manager

June 18th, 2009
2:15 pm

MARK BRADLEY next Braves skip!

MR BULLDAWG

June 18th, 2009
2:15 pm

U NO WHO WOOD BE A GOOD MANGER? PETE VAN WEERIN I LISSEN 2 HIM AL THE TIME AND HE NO BASEBALL REEL WELL

Meat Rabbit

June 18th, 2009
2:18 pm

MB, why would Freddy Garcia not even make your short list?

Meat Rabbit

June 18th, 2009
2:18 pm

….but I like both of your choices, by the way

Bill

June 18th, 2009
2:19 pm

Jose Oquendo ,3rd base coach, guy is sharp fluent in English and Spanish, Knows his stuff. My #2 Pick.

One you didn’t mention. John Farrell-pitching, Coach Boston RS. Has worked in Front office, been Farm director. John is not intimated by the offensive aspects of game that happens constantly during game, a rarity. A,B,C baseball, hit & run, speed ,plus power. Works all the time never rest”.My #1 Pick”

Chop Chop

June 18th, 2009
2:20 pm

The Braves are up, 2-0.

Mark,

Taking the myopic top-of-the-fourth-inning view, I have to say that Bobby Cox’s work through the top half of the fourth inning in today’s game should secure him a lifetime contract. H8ers betta reckonize.

o-me

June 18th, 2009
2:21 pm

Wellman!!!! Hell!!!!

tiger297

June 18th, 2009
2:27 pm

If you could convince Bobby to move into the front office I personally would pick Yost but Fredi would be a solid choice as well. I think the players need a change of direction. Regardless of what you think of his ability to manage this team this year no way you fire Bobby mid season. Anybody think Chipper has the desire to manage? If that is the case maybe we should let Bobby hang on until he is ready.

Chopper

June 18th, 2009
2:32 pm

Bobby Valentine

o-me

June 18th, 2009
2:32 pm

Chipper just signed a 3 year contract with 4th year option….Let Cox hang on????? Get a life>

r martin die hard braves fan

June 18th, 2009
2:35 pm

YOU OUGHT TO BE ASHAMED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!BOBBY IS HERE FOR THE DURATION. MAYBE YOU NEED TO BE REPLACED.

[...] For further reading: The Braves aren’t in the market for a manager and mightn’t be anytime soon. But if they were, here are two men I’d consider. [...]

Chopper

June 18th, 2009
2:40 pm

Why not bring Ozzie Gullien back to Atlanta? He knows how to get a team fired up and he’s won a world series with the White Sox.

Mark Bradley

June 18th, 2009
2:41 pm

For the same reason Terry Pendleton isn’t on my short list. Because I’m trying to think outside the Braves’ family tree.

slimpickens

June 18th, 2009
2:41 pm

Fire Mark Bradley!

Rchie

June 18th, 2009
2:42 pm

I hope that Bobby’s replacement will be Ned Yost. Managerial experience, knows the Braves organization and many of it’s players, and a proven track record of winning in Milwaukee. Plus, his style is one which demands more from his players as opposed to the constant excuse making that we have become accustomed to here in Atlanta when Cox tries to explain why major league players do not run the bases well or move runners over, etc.

Chopper

June 18th, 2009
2:46 pm

Davy Johnson won everywhere he managed (but technically he is in the Braves family tree having played for them in the 70s)

Casey Stinkle

June 18th, 2009
2:47 pm

Why is a slow azz catcher batting 8th in front of a pitcher? Makes no sense. A #8 hitter should have at least a little speed so they don’t get thrown out @ second when the pitcher bunts (see top of 5th). Maybe Cox should let someone else make up the line-up. I say Yost.

heybud

June 18th, 2009
2:51 pm

Bobby is NOT the problem. He never has been, not even in the postseason. When players produce, the manager is a genius. When players don’t produce, the manager gets blamed instead of the players.

It’s a TEAM game. No one can know what would happen if you replace members of a team with another. There is no guarantee of success or failure when you replace someone… anyone.

I am disappointed when the Braves lose, probably more than I should be, but it is a game, and I enjoy watching it on TV or listening to a game being broadcast on the radio.

A lot of factors have to come together for a team to be successful, much less win a championship – ownership, farm system, front office, coaching staff, players, etc.

In my opinion replacing Bobby Cox would be a step backwards, not a step forward. I don’t have the answer and neither does anyone else who has provided his or her opinions on this blog.

Chopper

June 18th, 2009
2:51 pm

How about Buck Showalter for a year? He gets fired from the Yanks in 1995, they will the World Series (over the Braves) the next season. He gets fired from the Diamondbacksin 2000, they win the world series the next season. Anyone else see a pattern here?

Mac

June 18th, 2009
2:51 pm

Braves fans, meet your player-manager, Chipper Jones.

Or, Buck Showalter.

PMC

June 18th, 2009
2:53 pm

I like Freddi Gonzalez but he is in the family tree.

The people in Milwaukee didn’t think much of Yost at all for whatever reason.

Meat Rabbit

June 18th, 2009
2:53 pm

I understand your reasoning….sort of. But, of all Bobby’s disciples..your words “the Braves’ family tree”…Freddy has proven to be a winner at this level. He is young, seems to have a fire in his belly, and can relate to the latin players. Did I mention that he has big league managerial experience…which btw, neither of your guys do. I’m not necessarily of the opinion that staying inside the “family tree” is a bad idea…so long as we pick the right apple. But, as I said, I do like your guys, too. Great writing today! Love the speed blogs!

Ken

June 18th, 2009
2:58 pm

Okay, here’s thinking outside the box.

Greg Frady, Georgia State University head baseball coach.

In his second season as GSU head coach, he won 33 collegiate games, a school record. In his third, he won the CAA conference title and took them to the NCAA tourney. More than 80 of his athletes have been drafted or signed professional contracts, 20 have been All-Americans, and four have made the big leagues. He’s been a winner everywhere he’s coached, and has the personality and drive to make a team like the Braves a winner.

Can’t be worse than any of these other choices. Give him a place in the organization and see if he can manage pros. I’ll bet he can.

Robert

June 18th, 2009
2:59 pm

Anyone not named Hargrove, Valentine, or, heaven forbid, Pendleton

How about Rick Dempsey?

Pappy

June 18th, 2009
3:06 pm

Glad to see Kelly Johnson out of the line-up today…

Timbo

June 18th, 2009
3:07 pm

You’re right Mark, Bobby is too nice for this team. Ozzie Gullien of the Chisox is the perfect manager for this team. Go get him!!!!

Mac

June 18th, 2009
3:07 pm

Is Eddie Haas still alive? I hear Speedy Claxton’s not doing anything.

The_Superhoo (Montana by way of Virginia)

June 18th, 2009
3:09 pm

Too soon, but Brian O’Connor? (i’m biased haha)

shankit

June 18th, 2009
3:13 pm

I just always thought Smoltz would finish his career with Atlanta
and assume some sort of assistant managerial position leading to eventually the
managerial position after Cox retired.
Not to be — but, I still think Smoltz would be a consideration.

Fruit of A Good Tree

June 18th, 2009
3:15 pm

What about Jimy Williams? Grady Little? I know they are from “the tree”, but they can manage and they both play a more aggressive brand of ball than Bobby.

If Grady doesn’t listen to Pedro, Francona may not be in Boston right now. He would still be a question mark…a guy that didn’t get it done in his first stint. Guys like LaRussa and Cox have gotten it done at every stop.

Williams and Little have done good a good job at each stop and so “tree” or not, I go with the guys with proven track records. Francona hasn’t shown me he can win without the big $$!

Hoosier Aaron

June 18th, 2009
3:27 pm

Mickey Hatcher is my guy.

Ray D. Aider

June 18th, 2009
3:33 pm

I agree with Chopper, Buck Showalter would be my first choice.

Definitely not Ned Yost.

Matty

June 18th, 2009
3:33 pm

What about Don Mattingly?

Mark Bradley

June 18th, 2009
3:40 pm

Why would you hire Jimy Williams? I mean, really.

Mark Bradley

June 18th, 2009
3:41 pm

Don Mattingly would be on my long list.

I’m not a big Ned Yost fan, you should know. When you get canned in September in the heat of a pennant race, that’s a serious warning flare.

Luther

June 18th, 2009
3:43 pm

This is what happens when DOB tries to take a few days off.

Fruit of A Good Tree

June 18th, 2009
3:49 pm

Mark, did I miss something with Williams? I thought he did a good job in Boston, Houston and Toronto? He has an excellent reputation as a teacher and he isn’t one for the Earl weaver brand of baseball. He has an overall winning record.

What’s the problem Mark, what is it I’m not seeing?

Herschel Talker

June 18th, 2009
3:51 pm

MB – what about Russ Nixon? I bet he’s available.

Fruit of A Good Tree

June 18th, 2009
3:51 pm

What is wrong with wanting to hire a guy who has won at three different stops, has a reputation as a teacher, and plays a non Earl weaver brand of baseball?

Is there sojmething I miss, why don’t you want a guy who is proven Mark?