This week Deadspin and The AJC’s Mark Bradley joined the chorus of critics who think Fredi Gonzalez is not very adept at this managing thing. This morning, on Buster Olney’s podcast, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale opined that Bud Black will replace Fredi, something The Office first predicted 10 months ago.
Actually, that was more wishful thinking than a prediction. But I’m starting to believe we’re witnessing Fredi’s final stand, especially after reading this exchange between Mark Bowman and Coppy.
MLB.com: Is manager Fredi Gonzalez’s job in danger if this losing continues?
Coppolella: We care about Fredi, and we all hope we can turn things around and start winning games. That will take pressure off everybody.
Not sure if I’m giving them too much credit, but I suspect the front office was setting up Fredi to fail with their optimistic takes on 2016.
Here’s JS from last October, “I think we’re going to be really good. I can’t put a number on it. Let’s say at least a .500 team. I know that. That’s what I believe.”
While most Braves fans welcome a new skipper, many will argue that it makes little difference who fills out the line-up card. Certainly a power hitter or solid starter would matter more, but managers do have an impact. And I gotta believe Fredi inspires as little confidence in his players as he does the fans.
So why Bud Black? He’s close to John Hart, who hired him as a special assistant after Black’s retirement from playing. He may not be my first choice but is well-regarded within the game and, from the times I’ve heard him interviewed, Black is considerably more cerebral than Fredi. Really, he can’t be worse.
Fredi is the game’s only Hispanic manager, which is embarrassing for MLB. Hopefully Hart and Coppy will cast a wide net that includes top managerial prospects Dave Martinez (former Brave, Joe Maddon’s right-hand man) and Alex Cora (widely regarded as bright, well-informed and a hard worker).
As for Eddie Perez … The Office is a big fan but believe at this point an outside voice makes more sense. He’s also very close with Fredi and considers him a mentor.