Should Braves avoid going ‘Braves Way’?

Maybe Braves, with John Hart, Bobby Cox and John Schuerholz, need a fresh set of eyes in GM position. (Curtis Compton)


This isn’t meant as any disrespect to the candidates being circulated most in the rumor mill or to outright dismiss John Schuerholz’s belief that the Braves need to get back to the, “Braves Way” of doing things.

But would the Braves be better off perhaps doing something the, “Cardinals Way?” Or the “Dodgers Way”? Or the “1927 Yankees Way”?

Yahoo reported that the Braves have offered interim general manager and senior adviser John Hart the general manager’s job that came open with the dismissal of Frank Wren Monday. As David O’Brien reported, and anybody who attended Monday’s news conference can attest, it was clear Schuerholz has a desire for Hart to take the job — just as it was clear the 66-year-old Hart is enjoying life in his part-time roles with the Braves and MLB Network.

Would the Braves' front office, which includes John Hart, Bobby Cox and John Schuerholz, benefit from a fresh set of eyes?  (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Would the Braves’ front office, which includes John Hart, Bobby Cox and John Schuerholz, benefit from a fresh set of eyes? (Curtis Compton/AJC)

When a person gets to be a certain age, money, free time and no responsibility is a wonderful combination. It’s wonderful at any age, for that matter.

Here are the two (or three) scenarios being debated most publicly:

• Schuerholz talks Hart into taking the job, if not indefinitely then at least for a brief period – one to two years? – while grooming Braves assistant general manager John Coppolella for the position. Coppolella is young (35) and bright guy. His rare combination of skills – analytics and old-school scouting – and has been trumpeted in recent years by popular baseball statistics websites like Baseball Prospectus and Fangraphs and this week by the AJC’s Mark Bradley. Coppolella has worked for the Braves for seven years and prior to that was with the Yankees. Coppolella certainly would take the job if it was offered.

• The Braves lure former assistant GM Dayton Moore back to Atlanta. There is a widespread belief that it actually was Moore, not Wren, who was being groomed to become the Braves’ general manager following Schuerholz’s eventual retirement. But Moore, a Kansas native, took the Kansas City Royals’ job in June of 2005 and Wren was promoted in October of 2007. It’s conceivable Moore has a soft spot for the Braves. But right now he’s focused on the Royals closing in on their first postseason berth since 1985. He declined comment Monday on the Braves’ opening. He could have put an end to the speculation by releasing a statement saying he wasn’t interested but chose not to do so.

Back to my original question: This isn’t meant as a criticism of Hart, Coppolella or Moore. But would the Braves be better off hiring somebody with a fresh perspective?

When a team promotes from within or hires a person with previous organization ties, there is a greater possibility they are going to step into the job with certain biases and beliefs.

The Braves aren’t a car wreck, recent results notwithstanding. But a case could be made that they need a shakeup, or at least some outside-the-box thinking. Isn’t that more likely to occur with a fresh perspective?

What is the outside view of the organization, the personnel and manager Fredi Gonzalez?

Just throwing it out there. What are your thoughts?

Digital Jukebox
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— MyAJC: Georgia’s next 7 games are what really counts
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— MyAJC: Falcons now realize they need to step on gas
— AJC: Weekend Predictions: Falcons win, Jackets lose, Goodell cowers
— AJC: Braves see Nats celebrate, and Pirates may do same
— MyAJC: Fredi Gonzalez: ‘It’s my team, I take full responsibility’
— AJC: Braves’ opponents often celebrates here
— MyAJC: Falcons let everybody see their ugly side
— AJC: Short takes on Falcons’ loss to Cincinnati
— MyAJC: Georgia Tech has problems, but it also has Justin Thomas
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— AJC: Ferry takes leave but Hawks won’t change with this ownership
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— AJC: Silver says Ferry’s words not ‘terminable’ offense
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— MyAJC: Levenson gone but timing raises questions
— AJC: Hawks’ Levenson has ugly exit because of email
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— AJC: Michael Sam not being viewed as just a player
— MyAJC: With Todd Gurley, possibilities are endless
— AJC: Weekend Predictions (no lie): Dogs over Clemson
— MyAJC: Richt, Georgia need another highlight

 

 

Reader Comments 0

135 comments
TreeRollins
TreeRollins

HA HA - Braves lose again. Team now 5-17 in Sept. "No quit in this team" says Scheurholz. Hilarious!

SaltySouthernGal
SaltySouthernGal

We suffered through all those years with Bobby Cox. We should have won 3-4 more World Championships in the 14 years everyone crows about all the time.  Something is not quite right.   Please don't bring back Bobby Cox or anyone who believes he is the greatest thing since grits.   Chipper was drooling over him on the radio this morning and it made me sick.

Dsyelxia
Dsyelxia

I absolutely cannot support any team with Fredi at the helm.

I cannot believe that Bobby Cox and his antiquated ways are back in the clubhouse. 

It's time to clear out the senior citizens of Cox, 73, and Schuerholz, 74 and bring back Dayton Moore, 47. And while they are at it, get rid of Derek Schiller who only got to where he is because of his daddy, Harvey.

The Braves also need a straight-shooter like Chipper Jones in some capacity.

Until some radical moves occur, count me out.

maxman2660
maxman2660

time to get rid of  schuerholz also,guy thought he was a genius(did'nt look so smart when he no longer had ted turners deep pockets though) time for a new face and new ideas at the top

mitalia
mitalia

Jeff,  


Good question, and yes, the Braves should avoid going the Braves way.  I think that is the reason they and I like Hart.  The Braves have failed over so many years because of their inability to draft a hitter.  Wren was fired not only because he could not draft nor sign a hitter, but the minor league system has become so poor under his watch. Besides Perraza, is there any other prospect worth a lick in the minors? 


Even during the 14 year streak the Braves couldn't hit in October.  They needed power pitchers and selective hitters (reason why Smotzie was so successful in October).  They have never been selective at the plate nor have they learned to put the ball in play with any sort of meaning.  These are the types players the Braves need to draft, and the scouts from even the 'golden years' were unsuccessful at doing this or trading for these types of prospects. 


While I'm at it, what's the point of having Fredi around if the team won't listen to him or if he can't motivate them?  2 September collapses (1 more likely because of injuries, but still), and another where his team just totally mails it in.  If he can't get guys to hit sac flys, that's either because of his flawed message/strategy, or guys aren't listening to him.  Young players (and this team is likely to stay young until the opening of the new ballpark) need an in your face manager when the situation calls, unless they have a veteran to do it for them. The lack of a closed-door clubhouse screaming this season is inexcusable. 





Nig-ga-lese
Nig-ga-lese

Sick and tired to seeing the same old same old.  Dump Cox, Fredo.......hire a GM who isnt afraid of packaging a trade of Craig Kimbrel and BJ Upton (got to get someone to take Upton's 3 year/$50 mil contract off our hands) in return for some hitting prospects.  As much as I love Kimbrel.....what use is it to have a premier closer...if our offense stinks so much that he never has a lead to close?


It's bad enough that we have to pay $13 mil in 2015 for Dan Uggla, whose no longer with our team.  However we're also on the hook for BJ Upton for $15 mil in 2015.  As it is now..we have no money to attract any offensive free agents. 


If Medlen and Beachy are healthy in Spring Training...I'd also be in favor of packaging Mike Minor in a trade for a young bat.  The only way I'd be open to keeping Kimbrel...would be if Justin Upton wasnt open to re-signing with the Braves....which could prompt the Braves to offer BOTH Uptons in a trade..which would free up some salary to sign/trade for some hitters. 


Our pitching is too good to just let it go to waste by an anemic offensive.  Teheran, Wood, Medlen, Beachy.....and either Harang or Santana (depending on if we have to re-sign Harang on the cheap due to potential trades being made...or if we'll have the money to re-sign Santana if we can make some astute trades on the cheap to acquire some offense...especially if Mike Minor is dealt).  


There are some potential for some moves to be made.  The question is can we hire a GM who is willing to think outside the box when it comes to DRASTICALLY revamping our offense. 

tyger
tyger

Braves Way i.e. Economy Edition...


Back to the $70-$80M budget...

BJ/Uggla still on books..

Liberty don't play that...

Bye-bye Santana...


Pipeline pitching heavy...

Northcraft, Shreve, Jaime, Martin...

But bats have gone green...


No power to be found...anywhere...

3B/2B wide open for upgrade...

Is Gattis for real? LaStella?


Trade Justin Upton really???

I don't think so...


Heyward  RF

Freeman  1B

J.Upton LF

Simmons  SS

Gattis C

Bethancourt C

LaStella 2B


Not a bad core...add 3B/OF bat w power...


Coco Crisp, Raul Ibanez, Nelson Cruz...

Matt Kemp, Rafael Furcal 2B, A-Rod


BJ Upton for A-Rod...get butts in seats...





TheMonger
TheMonger

Hire A's assistant GM under Billy Beane. A's organization seems to be the most organized, intelligent, and knowledgable staff in baseball.  They have uncanny eyes for talent and scouting and seem to get the most bang for their buck.  If you can lure anyone under Beane, even his 3rd or 4th in command, it would seem like a win.  At least have one or two of them interviewed at the very least.  My second option would be to get someone from the Cardinals or Giants organization in for an interview, as they are the 2nd and 3rd best organizations for scouting and baseball operations.  Classy and consistent winners every year.

JAS0N
JAS0N

"would the Braves be better off hiring somebody with a fresh perspective"


Why do the braves fail the way they do, year in and year out?  It is an enigma.  No other team seems to have this problem.  The late season comes around, or the playoffs begin, and the players inexplicably hit a brick wall and choke.  Choke on the ball, choke on the bat, choke on essentially any tangible item associated with the game. I went to the one-game playoff two years ago, and I walked into the gates at the park knowing, not thinking or feeling, but knowing, we were going to lose.  That's not normal.


You need to write an article examining this "Enigma" and why it seems to affect only Atlanta.

tmc
tmc

I've been saying it for the last several year. "The Braves Way" aint workin. Even with Bobby Cox here, and now Bobby Junior with Fredi Gonzalez, the results are clearly not what most fans want, which is a championship or at least team good enough to contend for a championship.

This is why i believe, and a lot of Braves fans agree, that a clean slate is needed. To me, that means get John Schuerholz and Bobby Cox out of the decision making process for any on-field decsions. You want to leave them in upper management in a token position, fine. But their day's are over. Cox's decisions on the field has been limiting this team for decades...

The risk is the people brought in don't work and the Braves sink to the cellar of the NL East... I say take the chance. To me, there is nothing more frustrating than having talent and playing poorly and losing VS. going for it and failing to contend. I'm tired of mediocre success with no shot at winning it all. AND what if it works?


Complacency has settled in with all aspects of this organization. They celebrate wild card & division winning as if it's the goal. And this type of attitude permeates throughout the organization that results in poor play and it's accepted.


As far as Fredi goes, get rid of him. The last three years the Braves have been THE Worst fundamentally sound team in all of baseball. That's directly on the coaches and manager. Night after night they found new ways to lose games. Combine that with the collapses of two years ago and this year's monumental 2nd half collapse.. It's not going to get better under this manager. I know why he is getting a pass. It's because of our former Hall of Fame Manager... (see 1st two paragraphs above for clarification)


It has sickened me over the last 3 years under Fredi Gonzalez to watch the current Braves team butcher plays defensively in the field and the colossal failures at the plate over and over. He's got to go!

Intruder
Intruder

I would be surprised if they win another WS in the next 30 years doing it the Braves way. And they can't afford the Yankee way. Best to stay the course and hope for a weak East. Get a few East titles to fly in Cobb.

Jazzpman
Jazzpman

Well the Braves way got Atlanta to allot of World Series to win One.  Bobby Cox did so little with possibly the greatest pitching staff ever !

 Bobby Cox I am sure is a great guy, but the new GM whom ever he is should get to pick the manager.

oldcrackerfan
oldcrackerfan

Just to throw out another reason to look for situational hitters, the shift is changing offensive numbers.  When MLB cleaned up drugs (we suppose), defensive thinkers came up with a useful way to frustrate power hitters.  Then there's the ascendance of  the cutter.  We're getting suggestions to lower the mound, again, and outlaw the shift.  Horse feathers!  The answer is to find hitters who can control the bat and the strike zone.

mitalia
mitalia

@oldcrackerfan exactly man.  Your last sentences has always been the answer in the postseason, and why the Braves only won one championship.  They faced an offense that year in 1995 that has more or less the Braves strategy at the plate (get guys on then bomb). 

KentKimes
KentKimes

Hart would be better than Wren; but what's Hart really done? He was in charge when Indians lost to Braves.

I would hope that the Braves will find a GM, who has, either as an assistant or the head honcho, experienced winning a World Series. That is what we need. Cashman? Can he operate without an exorbitant budget? 

patriotdog
patriotdog

Well, the Indians were putrid before Hart arrived, won several divisions, played in a WS, and reverted to putrid after he left. Braves could do worse than Hart.....but they could also do better. I think Bobby and John should be revered, but a new approach is needed.

Pocaroba
Pocaroba

Without the poor moves Wren made it's even more frustrating to think of what the lineup could have been. Just a possibility. 

1. Bourne- Cf

2. Dennard Spahn (could have been signed without the contracts of Ugla and BJ) in left

3. Heyward- RF

4. Freeman- 1st base

5. Gattis- C

6. Prado- 3rd

7. Infante-2nd

8. Simmons- SS


Bench: Blanco, Schaefer, whoever


Speed, speed, power, and on base percentage. Could have had it, with sigificantly less expensive payroll and with possible much better results. 

Pocaroba
Pocaroba

I would have argued to give Gonzalez one more year as recently as July. However, the continued trend of giving Heyward a day off when an off day is 2 days away in the middle of a pennant race was frustrating. Continuing to play BJ and not give Schaefer a consistent shot, and two September collapses in 4 years and never winning a playoff series or the one game payoff gives me no hope that he can win it all. When there is no hope, it's time for a change.  

GT71
GT71

IF the 'Braves Way' is the get rid of Gonzalez way, then by all means do that way.  Also get rid of the bullpen, the starting outfield, the bench players and 3 of the 5 starters in rotation.

A clean house is in order for sure.  Yes, rebuild around that core group, but that 'core' consists of only 5-6 players.

The rest are not only expendable, but their 'see-ya' note a necessary condition for future improvement.

Just don't bring this team to Cobb.  We've been gulled by the politicians (for which each of them will be punished), but please don't try to ring the losers to Cobb.


RangeRover
RangeRover

@GT71

They are coming to Cobb and we will show you how to take your family to a ball game and have a fun, safe experience...just bring them without Fredi!

Ersatz
Ersatz

The "barves Way" is a special order at the 19-story Applebees in barvesworld. Ask for this by name, and the barkeep will keep sliding brewskis and tater skins down the bar to you at no cost. The generous cobb taxpayers are paying for it all, and visiting teams that stop by get free celebratory champagne, just ask the Nationals and Pirates.

BannedPoster
BannedPoster

@Ersatz Dude, let it go.  You've been posting the same crap about the stadium for awhile now. 

Ersatz
Ersatz

There's enough room for all of them at the 14-story Applebees in barvesworld. May run out of babyback ribs though.

Ersatz
Ersatz

If you're not going to eat those tater skins, then just say so. You up for another brewski though?

Pocaroba
Pocaroba

@Ersatz Really, it's not the Braves fault the Cobb commisioner's approved that. That's on the feat of the people who betrayed the public trust and quite possibly, the people that voted them into office. 

BannedPoster
BannedPoster

The "Braves Way" has produced some very good baseball over the last 23 years.  This will be only the third time a Braves team failed at a winning season and only the sixth time they will have failed at making it to the postseason in that span.  Recent history suggests a new perspective is needed, but not necessarily an outsider to shake things up.  You do that with franchises in disarray such as the Diamondbacks are doing now and what the Cubs and Astros have recently done.  Both of the latter teams are in the beginning stages of rebuilding, while the former is about to begin.  The Braves don't need a complete rebuild.  They are a team who has been to the postseason 3 out of the last 5 seasons.  They have a solid core group that is young and will get better.  They need a GM who can fill in the holes and get them back to playing by the "Braves Way". 

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

@BannedPoster  Going back to 2010 the Braves have ONE starting regular remaining (Heyward) and no other position players except Freddie Freeman (late season callup). That team had Infante and Prado and a young Gregor Blanco (second, third, and center field?). I wonder how much sleep Wren and the Braves brass lose contemplating what might have been if they'd just stuck to the fundamentals and avoided the splashy deals.

Pocaroba
Pocaroba

@DawgDadII @BannedPoster Imagine what could have been accomplished if we never moved Infante for Ugla, still had Prado and Blanco, and kept Bourne over BJ. My gosh, we had it all and we traded or did not resign and it all has gone away. You can throw Hudson in with that group as well. 

CobbCountyBraves
CobbCountyBraves

@DawgDadII

Agreed.  I've always like the Cardinals way and the Braves of the early/mid 90's.  Speed, situational hitters (Nixon, Smith, Pendleton, Sanders, Lemke, Blauser) with an appropriate mix of long ball hitters (Justice, Gant, Bream, McGriff) and coupled with great pitching.  

Starting in the late 90's and until now, we drifted away from this formula from less contact hitters to what we have today...a lineup almost exclusively with free-swinging, guess hitting hacks.  

With our pitching this season, to end up with a losing record is remarkably bad.  Yet, here we are, with Fredi still managing.

Pocaroba
Pocaroba

@BannedPoster @Pocaroba @DawgDadII I agree completely. The Braves way has been mostly successful. This is a bump in the road and the right changes could get things back on a track. No reason to throw out the entire organizational philosophy that has been  mostly successful

58Supersports
58Supersports

@BannedPoster  Man you funny, who you been watching?  1-15 is Braves way... just show but no cigar... You sound like Bobby Rice Cox .... Fire Fredi and clean house.

oldcrackerfan
oldcrackerfan

The fourteen straight divisional championships are now far enough in the past that we should reevaluate.  At least in those days, there was some speed and some strategy beyond the three-run home run.  The basis for the Braves Way was established: there's no such thing as too much good pitching.  Pitch 'em down and away.  But we didn't learn our own lesson: when we get pitched down and away we try to pull the ball.  It's illogical and it's counterproductive.  The team won't improve until it focuses pitching, defense, and then on smart hitters (1st) who have power (2nd).  The three-run-homer way has now bottomed out, and the fans will not have hope until there is an admission of that fact by the top brass and a house cleaning.


Early this season, I voiced these opinions, now held by many on the forum and voiced by BravesFanForever, that reliance on the home run was killing the team.  I was so roundly ridiculed as an out-of-date thinker that I quit the forum for several months, not because people disagreed with me but because they were so snarky (and negative in general) and because they refused to think beyond the long ball.  I see none of those people posting now.  Abject failure has completely changed the tone of the forum; now let's hope it changes the tone from the Braves' front office right down to the field.

mitalia
mitalia

@oldcrackerfan Another fan that gets it.  I haven't blogged on the AJC in years, but when I did this is what I kept saying.  Need smart hitters.  That's what wins in October and when games start counting in Aug/Sept.  

BSNBC
BSNBC

It looks really bad for the Braves! Cox should be history now  and the Braves need new and younger faces!

BravesFanForever
BravesFanForever

I don't think the Braves necessarily need completely new thinking. They did very well for 14 years you know. However, that doesn't mean fresh perspectives cannot be useful. At least one very important thing needs to change and that's this belief that home runs are the way to one's heart. We need an emphasis on GETTING ON BASE. This is what wins games. Kind of hard to continuously try to slam the ball out of the ballpark since this only accounts for 1 run. Still need to get guys on and drive them in. I think one of the bigger mistakes that seems to have been overlooked is signing Chris Johnson to a three year contract. Granted it wasn't a mega contract but none the less, with his stats this year he ain't worth even $6 million in 2015. No good hitter loses his swing completely so I doubt he will ever return to the stats from 2013. He isn't worth keeping. At this point, I think everyone on the team is expendable depending on the return. I mean you can say that with just about any team but this team really needs a make over. I would say the pitching staff isn't bad but the team needs to replace at least 4 position players to be competitive.

mitalia
mitalia

@BravesFanForever Not just getting on base but what to do and how to work the pitcher when runners get on base.  Good post. 

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

This is really very simple. To remain competitive the Braves have to eat some $50 million is salaries over and above their annual salary budget, and they need to reinvest in their organization. This cannot be sold to the owner without a head on a plate. All the rest is rhetoric.


Failing to convince the owners to swallow hard and pony up the new GM needs to set his sights on 2017, break up this team Marlins style, and shade his eyes to avoid the glare from all the empty blue seats in 2015-16.

sh11
sh11

Not saying he should get the job, but I would consider John Hart an outsider.  I think that is exactly why JS brought him in as a consultant.

jdcigar
jdcigar

the braves need a complete house cleaning, owner on down. Glad Wren is gone but you can't tell me he made all those bad signings on his own.  I am sure that Schuerholz still signs off on big moves.  Wren was just a fall guy.


It is the Braves way that is flawed and we wont see real improvement until we find a new way

mark513
mark513

Outside the box should be everyone in the box taking a hike! I know the drum beat 14 years division championship but enough already, 1 world championship in 23 years. None of the current crew from McGuirk on down should be running anything, new ownership might see this and actually make real changes. I mean Freddy has to go but Bobby already gives him a yes vote? There are systemic issues with this organization that need to be addressed at the macro level, and a company man is not going to challenge the status quo. People have been voting with their feet for the last seven years, it will only continue to get worse. Oh by the way it is going to take years to fix this problem, pitching and defense be damned. 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@mark513: ". . . 1 world championship in 23 years."

________________________

NOPE--one world championship in FORTY-EIGHT (48) years!

What are you, 23 years old?

ChopChamps95
ChopChamps95

I would be ok if Hart took the job because he almost single handedly resuscitated the Indians organization back in the 90s.  But I also think a different set of eyes that has absolutely 0 ties to the old regime is needed too.  John and Bobby are still emphatic about running the organization like it is still 1995 and its not.  Times have changed drastically and they have been extremely slow to adapt and catch up.