If there is one positive to be taken out of the Fredi Gonzalez firing by the Atlanta Braves, it’s that their now-former manager isn’t new to being canned in the middle of a season. Gonzalez was let go by Atlanta on Tuesday morning after the Braves had seen enough of Fredi’s act following a 9-28 start to the season. Gonzalez, who has also managed the Florida Marlins was in his sixth season with the Braves and the last three, have gotten progressively worse, meaning the writing was likely on the wall.
As noted above, this isn’t the first time Fredi Gonzalez hasn’t been allowed to finish out a season before he was given the ax. Back in 2010, when he was in his fourth season with the Florida Marlins, Gonzalez was fired despite posting a relatively competitive 34-36 record at the time. The move was even more surprising considering Gonzalez was coming off an 87-75 finish the year before. His team had posted an 84-77 record the season before that, so it seemed as if Fredi Gonzalez was going to get a little leeway.
During the offseason following his firing from the Marlins, the Atlanta Braves snapped him up, and Gonzalez seemed to find success almost immediately. The freshly minted Braves manager posted an 89-73 record in 2011 and followed that up with a 94-68 record in 2012 and a 96-66 record in 2013. If there was a reason to complain about the job Gonzalez was doing during those successful seasons, it was the fact that Atlanta struggled during the postseason.
Despite the winning record in 2011, the Braves missed the playoffs altogether, and in 2012, they were bounced in a one-game playoff. In 2013, despite those 96 victories, Atlanta was defeated in the NLDS in just four games. Following that 2013 high point, things started to go south for Fredi Gonzalez and his Braves team. In 2014, Atlanta managed just a 79-83 finish, and Gonzalez could coax just 67 wins compared to 95 losses out of his team a year ago. As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution points out, this year, the Braves were off to one the worst starts in the history of the franchise. That history goes back several cities and nearly 140 years.
The terrible start to this year follows what was one of the worst ends to last year for Fredi Gonzalez and company. Now Carlos Tosca will be called upon to take over the reigns from Fredi Gonzalez at least for a day. One has to wonder whether the Atlanta Braves can expect much change in the performance considering Tosca has been the right-hand man for Gonzalez for quite a while. Terry Pendleton will take over as bench coach for Tosca when the Braves take the field Tuesday night. ESPN is reporting Tosca likely won’t be at the helm long, as the Braves are expected to announce Brian Snitker, the manager of Atlanta’s Triple-A affiliate, will replace Fredi Gonzalez as interim manager for the rest of the season.
Now that Fredi Gonzalez has officially been given the scapegoat status, it will be interesting to see what the Braves do after this season. The club has been in a rebuilding mode for quite a while now, but that hasn’t kept Fredi from drawing the ire of Braves fans. With a new manager in place for the rest of this season and perhaps yet another new manager trying to do what Fredi Gonzalez couldn’t, Atlanta’s front office could start to get some real heat as well. The rebuild has left the roster rather devoid of Major League talent the last few years. Injuries and trades have purged the team of even more good players. Fredi Gonzalez couldn’t survive the shuffling of the deck chairs on the Titanic, but he may not be the last to be thrown overboard before the rebuild is complete.
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