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Differing views on Fredi Gonzalez

Oct 13, 2010, 9:50 AM EDT

It’s hard to get excited about something as inevitable as the Braves hiring Fredi Gonzalez, but I’m more or less pleased with the choice. If he woofs it, fine, it means the team is losing and if the team is losing it’s going to have to start over anyway and then there are a whole other set of concerns. I don’t see him, however, as being a guy who will take a team of talent level X and turn them into a team that performs in an -X fashion.  They may not be transcendent under Gonzalez, but he’s not going to hamstring them I don’t believe.

Here’s what a couple of other people are saying:

Mark Bradley of the AJC:

Fredi Gonzalez is a solid hire made for logical reasons — the Braves
know him and like his way of doing business. But I was hoping for
someone who wasn’t a Cox acolyte. I was hoping for someone like
Jose Oquendo, who’s the third-base coach in St. Louis and who has
apprenticed under Tony La Russa. And, apart from their love of stray
animals, Cox and La Russa have as much in common as chalk and cheese.

Bradley doesn’t identify any problems with Gonzalez. I think he’s just bored with the choice because it doesn’t give him any new angles to write about. And hey, I love Jose Oquendo too, but I just don’t think this is a team with which you go in a different direction right now.

J.C. Bradbury:

I’m not too worried. I think the choice reflects the fact that it will
be hard to step into Bobby Cox’s shoes, and it’s clear that the front
office wants to replace Bobby with a manger familiar with Bobby’s style
and clubhouse culture. Gonzalez likely won’t have the autonomy and input
that Bobby had, but he won’t be rocking the boat of a team that played
well for the most part this year.

Bradbury also offers a couple of interesting anecdotes suggesting that Gonzalez may be a bit more sabermetrically-friendly than the current Braves regime is. Worth watching.

Finally, Peter Hjort of the Braves blog, Capital Avenue Club:

Quite simply I think this is a huge mistake. Fredi Gonzalez is not Bobby Cox.  Just because he has worked with
Bobby Cox does not mean he will be as effective as Bobby Cox.  He won’t . . . Expect less of the things that made us love Bobby and more of the things
that made us infuriated with him.  That’s essentially what they’ve
opted for, a version of Bobby with less of his good qualities and an
exaggerated propensity for over-management.

I suppose that’s possible. At this point, though, we could take the argument in circles. It’s a team that has had the same guy in charge for over 20 years. There’s really no intellectual or emotional baseline, I don’t think, that gives us any way with which to judge what a new manager will do for the team.

  1. jerryfromphilly - Oct 13, 2010 at 10:05 AM

    you left out the most obvious reason for being underwhelmed with this move, any really any braves related story – the Phillies own the NL east for at least 3 more years. Deal with it.

  2. BC - Oct 13, 2010 at 10:20 AM

    Why WOULDN’T they hire him? He got a raw deal in Florida. But more importantly, he’s a “known” to the organization. I don’t think you can completely turn things over after 20 years and expect it to work. Bring in someone who knows how the place works. Good hire.

  3. SadPandaRevolt - Oct 13, 2010 at 10:26 AM

    Did you know that there are other teams in the National League? It’s true!

  4. Michael - Oct 13, 2010 at 10:26 AM

    I’m starting to think the Philly fans who comment here are TRYING to fulfill what’s been said about them. Or, y’know, Craig was right all along about their hubris.

  5. Jonny5 - Oct 13, 2010 at 10:48 AM

    Peter Hjort is just trying to poke a turd here. Freddi is a good manager, one of the better ones for an NL east team that’s for sure. He knows his competition well. No one is going to replace Bobby Cox, they will take his place well though. Freddi did a good job in Florida imo, with a constant flock of fledglings to control. It’s not like Florida ever kept around mature talent, it cost too much. He did better than many would have or could have. I think he’s a good choice.

  6. nps6724 - Oct 13, 2010 at 11:28 AM

    The Braves didn’t need a major change. They were 2 injuries away from the NL East title and the NLCS. Add another likely rookie sensation (Freddie Freeman) to 1st base, a more experienced Jason Heyward, and (hopefully) no Melky Cabrera and the Braves and Phillies should have another exciting race in ’11.

  7. Utley's hair - Oct 13, 2010 at 11:43 AM

    You seem a bit concentrated on turds recently. Try some oatmeal or raisin bran. That should help.

  8. Utley's hair - Oct 13, 2010 at 11:49 AM

    First, not all Phightins Phans are the same, so keep painting all of us with such a broad brush and you can suck it. However, if the same light will always be used, what reason is there to fight it and what discouragement is there to act different?

    Second, the core is locked up for the next few years, so how can a factual statement like this be considered hubris?

  9. Jonny5 - Oct 13, 2010 at 11:56 AM

    That would be disasterous for me. I don’t need any more fiber if you know what I mean…

  10. Utley's hair - Oct 13, 2010 at 11:57 AM

    Damn I’ve been getting all worked up on this thing the last few days–discouragement was supposed to be encouragement.

  11. Jonny5 - Oct 13, 2010 at 12:00 PM

    “Hubris” is used to say…… Your overconfidence will be rewarded by failure. Kinda like when the Titanic was considered to be unsinkable, yet sunk on it’s maiden voyage. I’m just thankful it’s not being used as it’s original greek origins require.

  12. Utley's hair - Oct 13, 2010 at 12:03 PM

    So, you’re saying that you could be considered a Red Bird?

  13. Jonny5 - Oct 13, 2010 at 12:24 PM

    You should come root for the Phillies. You do seem presumptuous enough. I mean the NL east victor did have the best record in baseball and all. ;>P

  14. Utley's hair - Oct 13, 2010 at 12:27 PM

    Okay. Sorry, Michael, I misread the comment, and I will/do admit if/when I am wrong. My wife has made sure to teach me that I should admit to being wrong–even if I am not.

    But the comment about reputation fulfillment stands.

  15. nps6724 - Oct 13, 2010 at 12:52 PM

    The Braves did have the best record in the NL for a large portion of the year. And I have many reasons to believe Chipper Jones and Martin Prado could outperform Omar Infante and Brooks Conrad. That may or may not have been enough to top Philly for the NL East, but I have no doubt in my mind those 2 players would’ve put the Braves over the Giants. The scrubs we DID use were a couple errors from doing it anyway.

  16. Jonny5 - Oct 13, 2010 at 1:00 PM

    Man I’m with you. I was sooo rooting for the Braves to be perfectly honest. I just had to get my dig on the whole “2 injuries from the NL east title” thing. I’m pretty sure they would have been better but the Phills were playing like .860 ball end of season so I think it’s pushing it for that. But 2 injuries away from the NLCS is spot on imo. The Braves could have won that series easily. They were robbed of a chance to try in game 1 too. I actually said yesterday that they were 1 injury from beating the Giants.

  17. Michael - Oct 13, 2010 at 1:11 PM

    To your first point, you’re right: I should have couched my views in more conditional statements. Amended: “I’m starting to think that most of the avowed Philly fans who comment here are TRYING to fulfill what’s been said about them.”
    As for your second point…well it just reinforces my point. Saying that “the Phillies own the NL East for at least three more years” is a factual statement because “the core is locked up,” is a pretty classic example of hubris. Things happen in baseball. Players get injured, underperform. There are four other teams in the NL East. A lot can happen.

  18. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 13, 2010 at 1:33 PM

    The Giants just aren’t all that good. Other than their 3 pitchers, the closer, and Posey, who do they have that is even above average? Huff? Burrell? Torres? Come on…those are average guys at best. Posey is a beast and their big 3 is usually an advantage, except in the NLCS, it is not. They have a solid closer, but even he looked shaky in the NLDS. The Braves really couldn’t hit the Giants, but I don’t see the Phillies having much trouble with them. If Chipper and Prado weren’t hurt, the Braves would likely have swept the Giants…and I think with those two guys, the NLCS would have been epic.

  19. Utley's hair - Oct 13, 2010 at 1:39 PM

    Read my later comment re: misreading the initial comment.

  20. Jonny5 - Oct 13, 2010 at 1:53 PM

    I agree with you to a point. I do think the Phillies will have trouble with their starters. I also think the Giants will have more trouble with the Phillies starters. So it should work to the Phills favor. We will see.

  21. Michael - Oct 13, 2010 at 1:59 PM

    Sorry, missed that :-)

  22. bofarr - Oct 13, 2010 at 8:34 PM

    @ jerryfromphilly & Utley’s hair; The Phils are a talented and deep team with everything going for them; they play smart ball, have great pitching and solid defense and are loaded offensively.
    That being said come back and post here again when they own the division for 14 straight years.

  23. jerryfromphilly - Oct 14, 2010 at 11:04 AM

    14 straight division titles is pretty forgettable when you only break through for the title once. At least, it seems like ancient history to me.

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