This morning, the Braves cut ties with manager Fredi Gonzalez. This marks the first time the Braves have fired a manager since 1990, when Russ Nixon was given the boot.
Is this shocking news? To me it isn’t. Is the timing shocking? Perhaps. One can make a strong argument that even the greatest manager of all time wouldn’t have been able to win with this roster, and that’s a valid point. However, it’s no secret that Fredi wasn’t going to be the manager beyond this year anyway. So, in my opinion, what does it matter when he was fired? Maybe you think he deserved to finish the season, that’s fine. But I don’t see how that’s important in the long run, and the long run is where this organization’s focus has been for the last 18 months.
Will a new manager help this team win in 2016? No chance. But regardless of the results, the organization had to do something. They couldn’t continue to lose night in and night out and be “ok” with that. In my mind, this sends a message to the fan base that says, “We’re not going to stand for losing every night. We acknowledge that a turn around might not happen immediately, but we’re not going to allow the same thing to happen over and over again and not do something about it.” That’s the message I translated from today’s news. That and the fact that the Braves want a clean slate for 2017. New stadium, new manager, new players.
Fredi was given over 5 years here. In other towns where the fan base’s expectations are viewed as higher, he might not have lasted beyond 2013. He had a monumental collapse in 2011. 2012 wasn’t that much better, and in 2013, he let the best closer in the league sit in the bullpen in the 8th inning of a must win playoff game. Point is, we saw Fredi manage with a very talented lineup for four seasons, and all the Braves have to show for it is a win in game 2 of a division series they lost.
In closing, we all knew this was coming. It’s a business. Fredi isn’t the only reason the team has won just 9 of their first 37 games, but you can’t fire the whole team. Fredi wasn’t a long term solution. The team will hire their long term solution this offseason, and they better knock this decision out of the park.
In the meantime, congrats to Brian Snitker. He’s a great baseball man who deserves this opportunity.
– Ben Ingram