Hiring Florida Marlins Leftover Fredi Gonzalez Huge Mistake For Atlanta Braves

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Hiring Florida Marlins Leftover Fredi Gonzalez Huge Mistake For Atlanta Braves
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

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.

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