Is Fredi a lame duck?

While Dan Uggla’s fate will get the most attention, the biggest storyline this offseason has to do with extensions. The Braves need to decide which of the young core they’re going to try and lock up, and they have to do it now (though I fear it ain’t happening with Jay Hey, a free agent in 2016 who doesn’t have much incentive to trade two arbitration years for long-term security).

Fredi’s contract expires after 2014, and if he enters the season without an extension it’ll speak volumes about FW’s lack of confidence in his manager. Lame ducks are easily undermined, and teams generally try to avoid such uncertainty in the clubhouse.

I’d take my chances with instability, though I’ll admit this postseason has shown there aren’t a lot of geniuses manning major league dugouts. John Farrell should probably be grateful for the obstruction call, as it obscured his stupefying decision to let relief pitcher Brandon Workman bat in the 9th with Mike Napoli available on the bench. He later acknowledged the blunder, to his credit.

Mad Dog in 2015!

Still,  Farrell got his team to the World Series and baseball, which typically operates with a pack mentality, seems ready to accept former pitchers as managers. That bodes well for the man I think should replace Fredi, widely regarded as a baseball genius.

But when Brad Penny and Maddux were teammates on the Dodgers, during the last two months of 2006, they had a conversation one day that led Penny to reach a stunning conclusion: This guy knows my stuff better than I do. It was eerie, really, how easily Maddux dissected Penny’s repertoire and suggested ways to maximize it. Penny, figuring he’d take advantage of the situation, asked Maddux to call a game for him against the Cubs. And so, on the night of Sept. 13, Penny glanced into the dugout before every delivery and found Maddux, who signaled the next pitch by looking toward different parts of the ballpark. Penny threw seven scoreless innings with no walks and beat the Cubs 6-0. “Maddux probably won’t tell you that story,” Penny says. He’s right.

Hiring Greg Maddux would be the smartest move FW could make. I doubt it’ll happen, but my confidence in the current regime would skyrocket if it does.

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15 Comments on Is Fredi a lame duck?

  1. Great article. would love to see mad dog managing the braves. I’m wondering if he would be open to the idea of managing in the bigs.

  2. pepefreeus // October 27, 2013 at 4:42 pm //

    I absolutely agree that FW has about as little confidence in that fat dope as I do. There are lots of little indications of it.

    If I had to guess, I’d say that it’s at least creeping into John’s mind, too. They just have to figure out a way to get around Bobby’s disapproval.

  3. roadrunner48 // October 27, 2013 at 10:01 pm //

    Who knows if Mad Dog even wants to manage?

    If he did and Wren hired him, I bet it would make it easier to sign some of those younger players to long term contracts.

  4. You can play only so much golf, his kids are grown (his yngst turns 17 in the spring) and he’s still a young man, relatively (47). Why wouldn’t he want to do it?

  5. roadrunner48 // October 28, 2013 at 6:57 am //

    Maybe he’s done managing children.

    Perhaps you can convince your editors to let you write and piece on his life in retirement and you can find out where he’s at.

  6. Not my beat — this is all speculation, of course, and if my Aunt Babs were here she’d tell me to wish in one hand and shit in the other and see which one fills up first.

  7. I would LOVE to see Maddux in the Braves dugout. It might be a tough trick to get him away from his brother and the super-rich Rangers. Hire both brothers perhaps? What of McDowell?

  8. roadrunner48 // October 28, 2013 at 11:46 am //

    Mike is on the outs with the Rangers. He was on the wrong side of the Ryan/Daniels power struggle and now he’s looking around. He’s interested in managing jobs. I’d take Mike as manager and Greg as bench coach.

  9. pepefreeus // October 28, 2013 at 5:12 pm //

    McDowell is supposed to be in the running for the prized Phillies PC job.

  10. roadrunner48 // October 28, 2013 at 5:47 pm //

    I’m sure his schtick with the bat would be enjoyed with their fans when they’re not vomiting on one another.

  11. I can’t count how many times I remember Maddux in the dugout, talking with Mazzone and other pitchers. Mazzone would stop rocking and stare intently like a student, as did the pitchers, while Greg held forth. Can’t say how he’d do running the show, but he’d certainly make a dream pitching coach if he were so inclined.

  12. Maddux knew hitters as well as he did pitchers — I have zero doubt he’d run a game better than Fredi.

  13. roadrunner48 // October 28, 2013 at 7:46 pm //

    My cat could run a game better than Fredi.

  14. What roadrunner says. My guess is that Ryan convinced ownership over Daniels’ objections to trade Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter to the Orioles a few seasons back for Koji Uehara, and that Daniels used that to undermine Ryan until he won the power struggle. (And then Daniels didn’t bother to re-sign Uehara, although Uehara’s reported hatred for Darvish might have prevented that anyway.) I think that Ryan decided to leave after losing the power struggle, but by the time he’d decided to do so, the season was close to starting, and he thought it best to wait until after it ended. Daniels, meanwhile stood pat last offseason while the team’s lineup was decimated by free agency and apparently has staked the franchise’s future on Jurickson Profar living up to his billing as the top prospect in baseball even though the guy hit under .235 in more than 300 plate appearances last season.
    Manager Ron Washington and pitching coach Mike Maddux are perceived as Ryan allies, and Daniels fired another Washington/Ryan guy, Jackie Moore, as bench coach and replaced him with Tim Bogar. With Bogar being a Daniels guy, and a ready replacement should Washington be canned midseason, do you think Washington will trust Bogar? I wouldn’t. So yeah, I’d be surpised if Mike Maddux wasn’t putting out feelers and trying to get out of there.

  15. pepefreeus // October 30, 2013 at 6:45 pm //

    With Dave Wallace gone to the Orioles and McDowell apparently up for he Phillies job, he’d have a perfect place to land here.

    We’ll probably hire Dubee instead to save $11.

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  1. Morning Chop: Atlanta Braves News 10/28

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