Braves’ Hart says Gonzalez has been ‘really good’ in tough season

John Hart knows that Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has dealt with a difficult situation this season. (AP photo)

John Hart knows that Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has dealt with a difficult situation this season. (AP photo)

John Hart knows that Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has dealt with a difficult situation this season. (AP photo)

I’ve posted a long Q&A that I did with Braves president of baseball operations John Hart on MyAJC.com. Near the end of it, I felt compelled to ask him about manager Fredi Gonzalez, given that his job status always seems to be a popular topic with readers.

I recently wrote about Gonzalez in a column you can find linked here, where he praised the openness and support of the front office: “In nine years of managing, this is the best situation I’ve worked in. It’s been a really good place to come to work. It’s been great. It’s been the ultimate.”

Here’s part of the exchange I had with Hart on the subject of Gonzalez, which can be found in the Q&A:

UPDATE: I’ve recast this to include entire section of Q&A on Gonzalez

Q: How has Fredi Gonzalez dealt with the personnel changes?

A: When we got together over the winter I told him: “You’re going to be a part of what we do here, as far as acquiring players, making deals and understanding the dynamic.” We made moves that Fredi knew were going to hurt him but he never complained. He said, “Whatever’s good for the organization.” I know I haven’t given him all the weapons he needs. His handling of the bullpen – I look up and think, “Well, how could anybody (handle this group)?” He’s a winning man, he loves and cares about the Braves and he’s done a superior job. I was candid with Fredi: “I know you’re in your last year (of a contract). We’re making a run-through here and we’ll make the call when it’s appropriate.” But Fredi is always ready to help figure out the solution to a problem.

Q: Will that be a tough call at the end of the year?

A: I don’t think so.

Q: As in, he’ll be brought back?

A: I don’t want to go there. There’s timing. But Fredi’s been really good. He’s been good to work with and he’s done a good job with his staff. And this club may fall apart but I know if it happens it’s not going to be because Fredi forgot how to manage.

Draw your own conclusions.

Reader Comments 0

53 comments
JackClemens
JackClemens

Fredi is a good manager. Keep him around and let him bring the team back up as the personnel gets better.

Chris11165
Chris11165

Fredi:  He said, “Whatever’s good for the organization.” Thats the statement of a class act as a manager...He's done a hell of a job this year in my opinion....cmc out

RangeRover
RangeRover

@Chris11165

As one's favorite used car salesman likes to say, "there's a sucker born every day!"

What flavor are you sucking on, Chris?

Wilbo
Wilbo

@Chris11165 Read this guy's post! This is the type of grinning fan that makes mediocre Braves teams possible and inevitable. 


Accept the disgusting crap the Braves put out on the field without protest = earn yourself some more of the same! 


If Liberty Media can wrap up a  poop sandwich, label it steak, and have our fans happily gobble it up, why should they bother to change the menu!?

Chris11165
Chris11165

Make that "NOT QUIT" On Fredi G  = spell check sucks

Chris11165
Chris11165

Got to love the Fredi bashers on here..here's a fresh take...do you really think ANY other manager could have done any more with this team this year?? The answer to that is  NO.......and while I've disagreed with some of his moves and wishes he had the fire of a Bobby Cox in that dugout I would be disappointed to see the Braves part with him. He's a good man and encourager to these young players and his critics seem to insinuate that he's not about winning and that is complete BS. Fredi has given us a Division championship and wild card is his four years, this being his fifth. You can't judge him on this year. We're rebuilding - not that that matters to the fair weather fans in Atlanta.........Stability over time is better for an organization than playing musical chairs with your manager. There are going to be tough years and 2015 has been one of those but if I remember in 1991 the team then, a young bunch of kids coming off a last place finish in 1990 gave us a finish to remember being in a similar place at the break then...... That may or may not happen this year but it's going to be fun watching these young players. We're not striking out this year like we did, we have purged the payroll of many bad contracts and I am very optimistic that the team has quit on Fredi G no more than he has quit on them.......This is baseball guys not chess. Game is played on the field and S$#$ happens on the field that no manager has control of.....the players still have to pitch, they still have to hit and they still got to catch. We had a bad series in Colorado and its time to put that behind us and take on a tough Cub team this weekend.


Im glad to hear Hart say he's not going to gut the team by getting rid of the veterans. We have a group of gritty guys in AJ and Johnny G, Uribe who have helped these kids. I do believe we need to dump CJ and get us a young catcher, a proven catcher for rest of the year and maybe a rental at FB as we  now know Freddie G's wrist may be worse than first thought.....thats my take. Im in with this team either way but I think a steady hand is better to play this year than dismantling everything........after the season is over then look back over it and see what is going on.....

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Chris11165: "We're rebuilding - not that that matters to the fair weather fans in Atlanta.........Stability over time is better for an organization than playing musical chairs with your manager."

__________________________

Rebuilding???

Stability over time???

We've won ONE championship in half a century--NONE for the past 2 decades--and we're still "rebuilding" and seeking "stability over time"?!

Low expectations yield mediocre results--at best.

Tallcarl
Tallcarl

@Chris11165 Good post my friend, I agree. Some of these people are negative about Mother's milk.

ChefTimDix
ChefTimDix

I believe very little Hart says and like just about everything he does.


I would not care to play poker with this guy.

ATLBrown
ATLBrown

Read between the lines - Hart isn't advocating for Fredi, he's just acknowledging that Fredi has managed a tough season.  


Schultz asked if the decision to keep him or not would be a tough call, and he said "no, I don't think so."  I take that to mean it will be fairly obvious whether they should move forward with him or not.  And by the follow-up question, the fact he didn't answer tells me Fredi will not be retained.

David Harris2483
David Harris2483

This interview proves that John Hart a) does not actually watch any Braves games b) thinks braves fans are stupid. Fredi Gonzales has been notorious throughout his career as being one of the worst managers at handling a bullpen in the modern era. This year's team is firmly mediocre, but would be probably 8-10 games better with a decent manager. Fredi does not project any leadership ability and does not go to bat for his players with the umps. He plays musical chairs so much with the lineup no one can settle in. The Braves should have fired him a year ago. Keeping him around tells me all I need to know about the mentality of the organization. The Braves haven't won a playoff series in 15 years, and the way things are looking it might be another 20 before they do again.

candlin14
candlin14

Amen. One of the worst managers I've ever seen. Simply pathetic

RangeRover
RangeRover

Baseball is the easiest of all major sports to manage and a monkey on roller skates can fill out a lineup card (except Goober Gonzalez--remember him batting Alex Gonzalez and Dan Uggla there?) and pull a pitcher when he's getting shelled.  Even the illiterate idiot Ozie Guillen won a world series!  LOL!

However, the greatest of baseball managers shine through when it's September and October, either chasing down a team or holding onto a lead in September or winning must win, advancing games and series in October.  

Now, do I need to tell you, Jeff Shultz, about Goober Gonzales' work in Septembers or Octobers?  He is, undeniably, undisputedly and overwhelmingly the single worst manager in the game of baseball; dumb as a box of rocks!  Memory and retention is a sign of intelligence yet Goober can't remember the simplest of details about the game he just managed, aways asking reporters after the game to validate his comments.

Hart just lost my respect as he's either downright lying in your face or he too is too stupid to pick a manager.

Question, Shultz, other than Cox and Hart, name another unbiased executive or player in all of baseball that has called Goober a good or great manager?

Crickets!!!!

Eldirte
Eldirte

John Hart did say before the start of the season that the Braves would be contenders. And now he's defending Fredi so which is it Johnny did you give Fredi enough to work with or did he underachieve.

satan
satan

Of course Fredi will be brought back...for next season. The Braves need someone to absorb the 100 loss wave that is heading towards them. He will be shifted into the front office or elsewhere as a "reward" once it's time to move into the new stadium and compete. 

Gov-waste
Gov-waste

Buck and Kincaide compared the Braves to the Cubs 2 years ago. They failed to mention the Cubs went out and hired a top notch manager. The Braves have not done that yet. Nothing will change, expect mediocrity as along as Freddie is around

neutral site
neutral site

I've done my share of griping on Hart, but I easily concede this: he KNOWS he's given Fredi a bad hand of cards, even down to starting the season with Cahill and Stults. 


The team knows this as well, I think. They are pros, they know their craft pretty well. I think their pride and professionalism have been big parts of keeping the first half respectable. 


Thing is, a lot of this has been built on some aging players (AJ, Kelly) who will wear down in August and Sept.


I'll reiterate this, though: I don't give a hoot in hell about "the new stadium" and rebuilding for that. Sick of hearing/reading it. That excuse/rationale has worn thin. The Braves needing rebuilding because, frankly, they seemed to be a team of free-swinging egos who weren't interested in team baseball. 


Get on with it.

neutral site
neutral site

I thoroughly agree here. Fredi is not the greatest, but he's not terrible, either. If have a beef with Fredi it's 

-at times he will be too passive

-he still adheres to the "closer" mentality rather than the "put out the fire in front of me" approach


For the latter, that's not just Fredi, that's any modern manager. Saves are extremely over-rated. What matters is getting out oft that late-inning jam, 2-on, none-out, big boppers coming up.


Kind of moot for now, with the pen completely decimated.

Eldirte
Eldirte

I don't like Fredi as the Braves manager and I want him removed as manager..........but this is his best work as manager this season. But its still disappointing

Wilbo
Wilbo

@Jetiredo Like I have said so many times before, only in Atlanta does "Our team doesn't suck quite as bad as we thought it would" count as a big victory.


I don't care if we replace Booby, Li'l Napoleon and Fruitcake Fredi with Mo, Larry & Curly or with Huey, Louie, and Dooey. Just get the damn losers out of the Braves organization and try to build a different culture. 


The team has gotten so cowardly, they are afraid to let go of recognizable names in the offices, even if those names are causing irreparable to the spirit of the ball club. The deeper you let Loser Spirit seep into  your mentality, the harder it's going to be to root it out.


Clean house! They're doing it on the field, should've done management first.

Eldirte
Eldirte

Hey I agree and I hope they so and yea the media goes out of its way to protect Fredi. I won't be shocked to see Mike Hargrove here next season

joop
joop

I just wish for once Fredi would get fired up about something during or after the game.  He generally makes good in-game decisions, but you can't expect the team to play with passion if the coach is always emotionless. 

Wilbo
Wilbo

@joop We had years of Cox freaking out and acting like a complete a-hole and getting ejected and that didn't keep the team from choking like dogs when the pressure was on. Emotion, especially misdirected emotion isn't enough.

Wilbo
Wilbo

@buellerbuellerbueller


Was Ray Rice drunk when he knocked his wife out? When the cops had to come save Booby Cox's wife from her violent husband he was drunk as a dog.


BravesFanInNashville
BravesFanInNashville

If you look at teams that plan on keeping their manager they almost always give contract extensions of at least one year either before the season starts or early into it so the manager is not coaching in the last year of his contract.  


This to me is the biggest sign that Hart is looking into who can be brought in.  If he can't find a suitable replacement at seasons end then he may decide to extend Gonzalez.  That might the what he meant by "there's timing".  If the Braves can land who Hart wants then it's time to make the move if not then Fredi might be the best option for another year. 

neutral site
neutral site

@BravesFanInNashville

It could be possible that Hart and co. wanted to see how it was working with Fredi day-in/day-out prior to making a decision.


These next 2.5 months will be tough on Fredi and the fans...but how Fredi handles it goes far for both his career and whether that career continues here.

BravesFanInNashville
BravesFanInNashville

@neutral site @BravesFanInNashville Yes if there is another total end of season collapse where the team has quit on Fredi than I think it's a very easy decision.  The best scenario might be to trade Maybin and Uribe and let Peraza and Mallex Smith come up and get their feet wet when the season won't count anyway and see how they do.  

hipdawg
hipdawg

Yawn, no news here.General manager supporting the manager.I'm shocked Schultz even brought up Fredi...Atleast he is reading the comments, maybe that is a start.

Wilbo
Wilbo

Seriously, though, this could be a good thing. If the Braves keep loser doofus dumb dumb Fredi Numbnut as manager, maybe fans will completely desert this moribund team. Let the new glitzy arse Cobb ballpark sit quiet and empty a couple or three summers and then there could pop up the possibility of Liberty dumping the team to an owner or ownership group that actually wants to win.

Earhardnt_Fan
Earhardnt_Fan

I done told U all win they hire him it was a misteak, He had a loosing record so U no the Barves R domed form the start. 4 sum dum reason the R keepin him a round whil the fans sufer. 

Earhardnt_Fan
Earhardnt_Fan

Altough they R movin 2 a safe area I wont go untill they fire there loosing managar. 

Wilbo
Wilbo

Losing when it counts begets losing when it counts begets losing when it counts. Then you get in losing habits like letting losers maintain positions of power. 


Braves seem to be accustomed to and satisfied with playing several layers below the strong winning teams of our era. Pigs wallow in mud & you can't stop them. Braves wallow in mediocrity and you can't stop them.


And, really, why would a Braves executive submit to a Q&A with an impotent boob like this?

Jpace
Jpace

Mr. Hart - Have been a Braves fan for 50 years and lived through the worst and best of times. You've been brought in to restore the best of times and, from my limited perspective, you are doing a good job. I'm extremely disappointed that John S. took his eye off the ball and allowed the previous GM to enter into some crazy contracts thus forcing the reassembly of the team. Also continue to be disappointed in Braves absentee ownership who seldom, if ever, even surface. It's not at all clear that these guys give a hoot about the Braves. We badly need new and local ownership.

Wilbo
Wilbo

@Jpace I got stuck w a REALLY stupid investment. A little piece of property in a corner where a subdivision was growing up. Had the idea it was a great corner for a convenience store, and held on to it for years waiting for that to happen. Now it's hemmed in so that it's completely useless and there is no reason for anybody to ever purchase it. I send in my little property tax payment every year, and other than that, I never even think about it. So w Liberty and the Braves. Some little investment that is just there. No reason to tend, improve, or in any other way pay attention to. Win the World Series or lose 100 games, ho-hum all the same to them.


This team will NEVER be a winner, until or unless motivated ownership takes over.

DrTruth
DrTruth

Q: As in, he’ll be brought back?


A: I'll have to ask Bobby about that.  

Retired-Soldier
Retired-Soldier

I am one of the constant critics of Fredi. Not because it isn't winning this year, but because of his in game decisions, they are often terrible. Now it appears to me some of the players are quitting on him. In one game CJ doesn't hustle and is thrown out at second on a sure double. Simmons has quit running hard to first and Gomes trots to a hit in left center and turns it into a double. Fredi ought to go.

Decaturian
Decaturian

so we have found hart's fatal flaw

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

Support him or not, Gonzalez is not the issue of the day, or the season. Being a manager involves much more than writing out lineups, calling on the bullpen, and making in-game decisions. While it's apparent Gonzalez is a positive force in many aspects, his track record reveals significant flaws in bullpen management and more importantly in his ability to motivate certain types of players who are an unfortunate reality to be dealt with in today's game. In the end, whether Gonzalez stays or goes won't really matter, the players have far more influence on the outcome.

joedavis
joedavis

So...not one word about Markakis, and his Belliard-esque production?

jarvis1975
jarvis1975

@joedavis Markakis is batting 50 points higher than Belliard's career best, and his OBP is a full 91 points higher than Belliard's best season.

Wilbo
Wilbo

@joedavis Hey! Belliard had pop! What are you talking about?