Tag: Fredi Gonzalez

Fredi Gonzalez: Latest News, Rumors, Speculation on Braves Manager’s Future

As the Atlanta Braves make their way through a long rebuilding season in 2016, the future of manager Fredi Gonzalez is sure to be a hot topic of conversation. 

Continue for updates. 

Gonzalez Not Expected Back Next Year

Wednesday, May 4

According to USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale, even though no decision has been made about Gonzalez at this point, former San Diego Padres manager Bud Black is considered a “heavy favorite” to take over in Atlanta next season.  

Nightengale added in his full report that Braves management is “embarrassed over their horrific start this season” and “internally discussing” whether or not to fire Gonzalez. 

There’s no way to classify Atlanta’s 7-19 start as anything but bad, though it’s also prudent to add context. The front office put Gonzalez in a no-win situation this year by trading away Andrelton Simmons, Cameron Maybin, Christian Bethancourt and Shelby Miller over the winter. 

Everyone expected the Braves to be bad this season because the front office was going to start building through the farm system. 

The Braves’ faith in Gonzalez dating back to 2015 has been interesting, to say the least. He was given a contract extension around the All-Star break last year that guaranteed his salary for 2016 and includes an option for 2017. 

At the time, Gonzalez had managed the Braves to a 42-47 record. It was not a great mark, but last year was also seen as the start of a rebuild for the franchise after Jason Heyward, Justin Upton and Craig Kimbrel were traded during the offseason. 

Put together a team of the seven major players Atlanta has traded over the last two years, and it would at least be competing for a playoff spot. Whether you believe Gonzalez is a good manager or not, he’s potentially going to be made the scapegoat for a situation in which no one could succeed. 

Fortunately for the Braves, Gonzalez is only under a guaranteed contract for 2016, so they won’t have to pay him for a long time to go away if they opt to fire him during the season.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Fredi Gonzalez, Braves Agree to New Contract: Latest Details, Comments, Reaction

The Atlanta Braves and manager Fredi Gonzalez have agreed to a contract extension that will keep him with the team for at least one more season.   

Per the Braves’ official Twitter account, Gonzalez’s deal has been extended through 2016 and includes a team option for 2017. 

Braves president of baseball operations John Hart was recently asked about Gonzalez’s performance and status this season, as the team went through various roster changes, by Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

He’s a winning man, he loves and cares about the Braves and he’s done a superior job. I was candid with Fredi: “I know you’re in your last year (of a contract). We’re making a run-through here, and we’ll make the call when it’s appropriate.” But Fredi is always ready to help figure out the solution to a problem.

Hart wasn’t ready to make any strong declarations at that point, but it seems he and ownership felt Gonzalez’s work over the past 4.5 years warranted at least one more year on the team’s bench. 

Per ESPN Stats & Info, this has been Gonzalez’s worst season since taking over as Atlanta’s manager in 2011:

Even though that wouldn’t seem to warrant an extension, keep in mind the Braves traded away Justin Upton, Craig Kimbrel, Evan Gattis and Jason Heyward before the team’s first game this season. They have also been without star first baseman Freddie Freeman since June 17 due to a wrist injury

Given all of those losses, it’s a wonder that the Braves are 42-47 heading into the season’s second half. Gonzalez hasn’t been given a long-term commitment, so the onus is still on him to prove he can lead this team as it moves into a new stadium after next season. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Atlanta Braves: Fredi Gonzalez’s Defense of His Batting Order Simply Falls Short

Before Wednesday’s BravesMarlins game, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution asked Fredi Gonzalez about the Braves batting order, specifically about batting Jason Heyward sixth in the order. 

Gonzalez’s statements just brought up more questions:

“Yeah.  When you make out the lineup, the lineup is a function of the entire lineup—eight guys, not just one guy. Statisticians, numbers crunchers and my SABR [Society for American Baseball Research] people—I’m a member—they shoot holes in that stuff. But you’re dealing with humans in the way the lineup is constructed.”

How does the fact that he’s dealing with humans negate the fact that Heyward is a better on-base guy than all but maybe one of his teammates, that he is as good a slugger as all but maybe one or two of his teammates and that hitting him sixth versus second could cost him over 50 plate appearances?

“Yeah, you put this guy in the No. 2 hole, but what are you going to do to the six-hole? What are you going to do to [No. 5 hitter Dan] Uggla when he’s hitting good?”

What’s wrong with Uggla staying where he is and McLouth hitting sixth? I’m not sure what he’s implying here.

What are you doing to the No. 2-hole? The No. 2 hitter comes up a lot more often and ahead of better hitters than the No. 6 hitter.

So why would you put one of your four weakest hitters in the No. 2 spot just so that you have a good hitter behind your No. 5 hitter?

“Like the situation [Tuesday], when McLouth bunts [Martin] Prado over to third,” he said. “Now are you are going to play the infield in? Are you going to pitch to Chipper or pitch to [No. 4 hitter Brian] McCann? That kind of stuff.”

What about the possibility in that situation of having Prado on second with no outs and Heyward, Chipper, McCann and Uggla due up?

“When everybody doing things like we did yesterday, hitting gappers, hitting some balls out of the ballpark, it makes [the lineup] good.”

Yes, when everyone gets a lot of extra-base hits, that’s a good thing. Over the course of the season, hitting one of your best hitters, if not your best, higher than sixth would lead to more extra-base hits.

“I think the way the lineup is constructed is more important [than getting your best hitters more plate appearances].  Then why don’t we lead off [Albert] Pujols? Or [Barry] Bonds? Lead ‘em off.”

The additional plate appearances isn’t the only consideration. That’s just one piece.

It’s also about giving your best hitter a chance to hit with a runner on base in the first inning and about putting your best or second-best on-base guy in a spot where he can be both a table-setter and have a shot at a fair number of chances to advance the leadoff hitter (and possibly hitters at the bottom of the order who get on base).

One reason (namely additional plate appearances) alone is not enough to hit Heyward higher in the order. But that one reason combined with others is reason enough.

“Believe me, when a guy’s going good in a certain spot — he likes it; he’s comfortable – his whole game is [going well], let ‘em play. Let ‘em do it….

“When you’re going bad, you come up with the bases loaded every time. I mean, you can be hitting 11th and it’ll happen. When you’re going good, it doesn’t matter.

“Everybody [in the lineup] has got a function.”

It doesn’t seem very likely at all that McLouth’s successful spring was due to him hitting second. He’s facing major league pitchers. They are going to throw whatever it takes to get a hitter out, no matter where he’s hitting.

In fact, if anything, I would guess that pitchers are tougher on No. 2 hitters because they know they need to get an out before the middle of the order comes up.

Plus there is the fact that McLouth’s performance in the sixth and seventh spots in the order are better than his overall career performance.

I don’t see any reason to believe McLouth has to hit second in order to get “going well.” If there were an inferior hitter who seems to have a need to hit third in order to get going well, would he consider moving Chipper from third? I doubt it.

So why move Heyward for an inferior hitter?

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

2011 Atlanta Braves: 8 Silver Linings Through the Season’s First 10 Games

The Braves enter their mid-week series with division rival Florida Marlins 4-6, a record that most in the baseball world would call a mild fiasco for a team that garnered such praise out of March.

After putting together a strong opening series in Washington, the Braves have gone on to lose five out of the last seven games in series against the Brewers and Phillies.

Does this early-season skid foretell of another long summer in A-Town? People are already wanting Fredi Gonzalez out, Terry Pendleton brought back as hitting coach, and Freddie Freeman sent to AAA.

Ah, Braves fans…. you never fail to show the world why patience and dignity are never found without the other.

There are some definite signs that show the Braves are not going to revert back to being a team that bobbles below and above .500 in 2011, but that they actually have the makings of a National League powerhouse.

Here are 10 positives the team has shown through the first 10 games of the season.

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Atlanta Braves Baseball: Preparing for a Season of Greatness

The Atlanta Braves look like they are headed in a good direction after the signing of Dan Uggla, a scrappy power hitting right-handed second baseman.  The Braves definitely need some right-handed power in the middle of their order.  Someone like Uggla will increase production and also provide some protection for a youngster like Jason Heyward.

It looks like Uggla will bat fourth or fifth in the batting order, probably behind Brian McCann and Chipper Jones.  He’s also been told that he will play second base this season despite Martin Prado’s excellent year last season.  More than likely Prado will move to left field where last year the Braves needed some stability.

They have also acquired veteran pitchers Scott Linebrink and George Sherrill.  These signings will sure up their bullpen after the departure of Billy Wagner.  These veterans are going to have to be leaders in their bullpen and help lead young pitchers like Jonny Venters, Kris Medlen and Craig Kimbrel in the right direction.

It looks like the Braves won’t need to go out and get a fifth starter by the way Mike Minor pitched to finish the season, but if he struggles to produce in spring training, they also have a young pitcher by the name of Brandon Beachy that could steal the starting spot or could become a long reliever.  The pitcher they need to cut ties with is Kenshin Kawakami who has been trouble for the Atlanta Braves and has a substantial contract for the upcoming season.  They could use him to lure in a potential buyer willing to give up a good young outfielder in return.

The Braves need another outfielder to go along with Eric Hinske, Nate McLouth, Jason Heyward and Martin Prado.  There is a slight possibility that Prado will have to play first base if Freddie Freeman doesn’t excel in spring training.  There is a chance that the wrist he injured a while back may cut into the power production he had in the minors.  So with that in mind, the Braves could send Freeman back to the minors for another season to sharpen his skills.  If this happens, the Braves might be in the market for a first baseman but not as strongly as they will be for a fifth outfielder.

Also this off season the Braves hired former Marlins‘ coach Fredi Gonzalez to replace the great coach Bobby Cox after his retirement.  This move will hopefully continue the success Cox had for several years in Atlanta.  General Manager Frank Wren has expressed confidence in his new additions and new coach and feels the Braves should be able to compete not only with the Phillies but with other great teams.  He feels that these additions will boost the Braves right to the World Series.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

2011 Atlanta Braves: Which Under-the-Radar Players Could Make an Impact?

Though it was mostly Jason Heyward grabbing all the rookie headlines this season for Atlanta, Jonny Venters was the team’s true freshmen MVP. Often times, the players that fly under the radar and have the least amount of pressure put on them become the major contributes to their team.

For Atlanta, an organization with so much depth, some of the least known prospects often become the ones that most contribute to the big league club. Who are some candidates to be the Jonny Venters of 2011? Take a look inside, where likely at least one of these players will have a chance to state their case in the coming campaign.

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Hiring Florida Marlins Leftover Fredi Gonzalez Huge Mistake For Atlanta Braves

The Braves hiring their ‘in-family’ manager to replace Bobby Cox in naming Fredi Gonzalez his successor is nothing less than a huge mistake for the entire Braves organization.

Coming from a fan who has watched Gonzalez manage in South Florida the last few years, he has major flaws.  First off, he doesn’t understand player chemistry.  Hanley Ramirez is arguably the best player in the Major Leagues at the shortstop position and Gonzalez constantly clashed with him. 

Gonzalez could not get along with his superstar and thus he alienated other teammates in the process.  He even got in Ramirez’s face in the dugout and there were several reports of turmoil between the two.

Secondly, he is horrible at managing pitchers. 

Gonzalez is a huge pitch counter and he pulls pitchers out of the game way too soon.  When he managed the Marlins, he often yanked the pitchers out early when they were cruising just because they were at 85 pitches or near 100 pitches.  Josh Johnson had a no-hitter going at one point and Gonzalez said he would not have allowed Johnson to finish his no-hitter and “wasn’t going to allow him to throw 150 pitches.” 

He was relieved at his pitcher losing his no-hitter so he didn’t have to pull him.  I guess Gonzalez didn’t see Edwin Jackson’s no-hitter earlier this year where he threw 149 pitches.  But it’s far more than no-hitters, it’s consistently pulling pitchers early who could give another one or two innings to make the bullpen’s job easier or give them the night off.

If you saw last night’s game in Tampa where Cliff Lee went nine and completed the game against the Rays to win the series, this likely would not have happened had Fredi Gonzalez been the manager of the Rangers—Gonzalez would have likely pulled him after the seventh.

Finally, he didn’t even win half of his games in Florida. 

He was fired with an overall win percentage of .497.  He was 35-36 in 2010 when Marlins owner, Jeffery Loria pulled the plug on him and said, “we can do better and be better.” 

So why were the Braves so quick to go after this guy?  Edwin Rodriguez, who previously had no experience as a manager in the Big Leagues, tookover for Gonzalez and posted a better record than Gonzalez and ended up finishing with a .500 record (46-46).  He got along well with Ramirez, and the team had much more respect for an inexperienced Rodriguez than they did for Gonzalez, who had been around for three years.

It also makes me wonder how fair of a coaching search this was.  Why would the Braves be so quick-handed not to interview some other quality candidates and jump at a guy with a less than .500 record? 

Rumors flew throughout the season that Gonzalez was going to be in Atlanta after the Marlins fired him.  I feel sorry for the candidates who didn’t get a fair crack at the job because of an old boys network connection that Fredi had with the organization.

However, he might be ideal for team president John Schuerholz, who tolerated underachieving and early exits from the playoffs for years under Bobby Cox.  Currently, the Braves have lost their last eight elimination games and have been eliminated in the first series the last six times they made the playoffs. 

If this was the New York Yankees and the Steinbrenner family running the team he would have been fired three times over again.

When Gonzalez was dusted by the Marlins, he uttered the words, “It doesn’t surprise me, these things are normal in this job.”  His below .500 record and inability to relate to his players is also normal.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Fredi Gonzalez Will Replace Bobby Cox as Atlanta Braves Manager

The Atlanta Braves will name a new manager to their franchise for the first time since Bobby Cox joined the Braves for the second time in 1990.

“Multiple baseball sources have confirmed that the Braves will introduce Fredi Gonzalez as their new manager Thursday,” reports MLB.com Atlanta Braves beat writer Mark Bowman.

Gonzalez has been the favorite to replace the legendary manager ever since the Florida Marlins fired him in late June. He worked on Cox’s coaching staff from 2003-2006 and has always been very close to the Braves organization.

One day after Atlanta was eliminated from the postseason by San Francisco on Monday night, an official Braves press release referred to Cox as “former Braves manager,” three words that the Braves and their fans have never heard to describe the manager that brought them such great success for over 20 years.

“Fredi Gonzalez is always first in my mind that pops up, just because this organization has been run the same for so long,” pitcher Derek Lowe said of Gonzalez. 

“I think Fredi would be a great choice,” outfielder Matt Diaz said. “I was only here one year with him, but watching him in Florida and the way his players responded to him in Florida … No offense to Hanley [Ramirez], but with the way Hanley handled that ball and the way Fredi handled that situation, Fredi earned a lot of respect from me, too.”

The Atlanta Braves have always been a close-knit organization, and it came as very little or no surprise that Gonzalez was selected to replace Cox so soon.

Now that the ominous cloud of “Who will fill the cleats of Bobby Cox?” has dissipated, the Braves can immediately focus on returning to the playoffs in the 2011 season and go about business just like they would any other season.

With all of the compliments and promotions of Gonzalez by Bobby Cox and his players, Braves fans can feel comfortable that Gonzalez will fit in nicely in the Braves dugout.

On Thursday afternoon, the Bobby Cox era will officially come to an end, and the Fredi Gonzalez era will begin in Atlanta.

It will be bizarre to look into the Braves dugout and not see that crazy old man who Braves country has been in love with for two decades, but as they say, all good things must come to an end.

But in this case, the good has only begun.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Managers: 10 Teams With Probable Openings, and the Candidates For Each

Major League Baseball is about to get a serious face-lift on the managerial front this offseason considering that already this regular season there have been five managerial firings. These include Seattle’s Don Wakamatsu, Kansas City’s Trey Hillman, Baltimore’s Dave Trembley, Arizona’s AJ Hinch, and Florida’s Fredi Gonzlez. 

Once this season ends, we won’t see Bobby Cox, still managing the contending Braves, or Lou Pinella, who got a head start on retirement, any longer as a manager. The duo have combined for over 4,300 major league victories, six National League pennants with a pair of World Series titles. 

We can’t forget about Cito Gaston who is managing in his final season with the Toronto Blue Jays and his managing career. Gaston has as many World Series titles (two) as Pinella and Cox. 

Yet as we look upon this season as the Year of the Pitcher how about can we have a standing ovation for the Year of the Manager? This offseason will dictate the future of Major League Baseball for years to come because as many as 10 teams will have probable openings with a few other teams on the bubble depending on the rest of the hirings or firings. That’s nearly three quarters of the entire league, perhaps getting a new manager from Opening Day 2010.

Even though the regular season ends in early October, expect for their to be as much as a handful of managerial moves during the postseason. 

In an earlier article, I wrote about the possible MLB managerial changes this offseason and headlined those teams but a lot has changed and with a month left in the regular season, this can be seen as the update to what’s to come, whose on each teams radar, and the probable choice for the team’s new manager. 

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Return of Miracle Marlins: How This Year’s Marlins Compares To 2003

About a week ago, it may not have seemed as though the Florida Marlins had much life left in them. They were four games under .500 and seven out of the Wild Card lead with a losing series away from becoming instant sellers at the trade deadline.
Flash forward a week later, surprise! The Marlins have reached their first goal of getting to .500 now comes the Wild Card. They control their own destiny as they embark on taking care of the Braves, Giants, and Padres before the deadline and to gain ground in the standings.
But already, this team has shown flashes of their championship counterparts in 2003. Here’s why the comparisons are vastly similar.

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