Fredi Gonzalez needs to make more of his losing hand

Fredi Gonzalez’s team isn’t expected to accomplish much, according to forecasts. (Curtis Compton, AJC)

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

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has dealt with a difficult situation this season but that doesn’t excuse everything. (AP photo)

Let me preface this by reaffirming I’ve never held Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez responsible for the Braves’ record during this massive makeover and I’m not suggesting he get fired now.

However . . .

No team loses 12 straight without the manager sharing culpability. When a team goes on stretches like 1-19, 3-23 and 12-41 – reminding me of those early Atlanta Thrashers’ days – it’s because just enough players on the roster are mailing it in and the manager is lost to find ways to motivate a group against the backdrop of a lost season.

Gonzalez was not going to make the Braves winners this season. Casey Stengel couldn’t make the Braves winners this season. Once you get past all of the euphemistic labels and ramblings from president of president of baseball operations John Hart and assistant general manager Jon Coppolella, here’s the truth: Both knew all along they were sacrificing this season – and possibly 2016 – with the hope that the young players they were getting back in trades would make the Braves contenders again in 2017. All of those walking “parallel lines” talking points were bunk.

Hart and Coppolella also took a significant risk by dealing Alex Wood, a solid left-handed starter with a controlled salary, along with top prospect Jose Peraza and others to Los Angeles for Hector Olivera, a 30-year-old Cuban prospect. If Olivera turns into the player Hart and Coppolella imagine, then maybe the deal will be worth it. If he doesn’t develop, that trade will hurt the Braves more than any other (because at least Jason Heyward and Justin Upton were headed to free agency and Evan Gattis was destined to be a fourth outfielder and spot catcher).

But none of that alleviates Gonzalez of responsibility for what has been a complete unraveling in the last two months. His bullpen and lineup may be second-rate and the starting pitching has abandoned him. But in the end, it’s a manager’s job to find ways to win games and he’s not doing that.

Before this season, I predicted the Braves would win 67 games. Some thought that was low. But now, at 54-83, they would have to go 13-12 in the final 25 just to hit that number. It’s more likely they go no better than 8-17, which would mean they lose 100-plus games.

One significant question in the last 25 games: What can Gonzalez do to make it appear that his team cares?

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Reader Comments 0

164 comments
Lovebaseball
Lovebaseball

Holy Cow! Hart and Freddie need to be replaced. Both are losers in their respective jobs. The Braves deserve better in both respects. The team is absolutely horrible, and they have a manager that is not even Major League caliber. The Braves better make some big big changes, or there wont be any fans come out next year, and they certainly wont come out to the new stadium which they don't need. The ticket prices will certainly go up when they move to the Sun Trust Stadium. What a shame. There wont be anybody to come out and see them. The only reason to go to a game will be to see the other team. Pitiful. Freddie and Hart aren't fooling anybody. Lets start fresh; build up the team over the next few years, but certainly start by getting some winning leadership. Hart and Freddie are losers, why keep them?

58Supersports
58Supersports

Been a Braves fan longer that Fredi has been living. I've seen the good,  bad and ugly many times but now when we are so bad and rebuilding why in he!! are we rebuilding with a inept manager ?  I can take the kids playing and all but I can't stand to see FG in the dugout and making stupid line-ups and killing the bullpen and on and on... every time I see him I want to throw up. How "damn" low can we go with him managing this team?  Can't even stand Bobby Cox anymore because of Fredi... Time for Hart to man up and put FG on the road.

candlin14
candlin14

@58Supersports


You are the smartest Braves fan Ive seen post on this blog. I couldn't agree any more with what you said. To bad so many idiot Braves fans think otherwise. I think we over reacted with two bad contracts (BJ and Uggla). We did not need to rebuild we just needed to find a way to dump the contracts and take our loss. We had a solid group of men and we could have won now without releasing the entire team.


I love how idiot Braves fans still think giving away Gattis (26 HR's) was a good idea. The guys contract would have been close to $600-$700 K this year. WOW!!!


there is a reason we are called the MOST MISERABLE SPORTS TOWN IN AMERICA and our fans surely don't help. 

GetBackJojo
GetBackJojo

Fredi needs to pack his bags, hop on his Harley, and ride off into the sunset. See ya!!

Stnicholaus
Stnicholaus

What credibility did Fredi ever have in the first place? Getting a free pass because his mayor is the ambassador to Cuba.  Go Cumberland Braves may Fredi not be with you. Pete Rose has nothing on Fredi.

shitlipps
shitlipps

PENIS HEAD IS WORTHLESS NOW.

BravesFan1966
BravesFan1966

By the time the Braves become a decent team again, this so called 30 year old Cuban prospect will be 34 or 35 years old.  What good is he to a losing team the next four years??  None!!!  He will be old, broken down, and worthless by 2018 or 2019.  That is the only time the Braves MIGHT be a team worth watching again.

DickSterr
DickSterr

@BravesFan1966 


I think that Braves fans are screwed until this lousy TV deal expires which to my knowledge goes until 2031


This ownership does not help -- maybe there will be a short window of opportunity in the meantime but it will be short due to them allegedly not affording to keep any great players (assuming they develop one). 


And these young pitchers -- I have my doubts -- maybe they will be number 3 or 4 starters and maybe even bullpen guys from what I see

farberboy
farberboy

Fredi is a loser, pure and simple. 

DickSterr
DickSterr

I will say one thing for you Mr Schultz -- in the time I have read your columns one thing is certain -- you are on the side of the Joe and Jane fans of this city and for that I am appreciative of


I remember you standing for the fans of the ATL back in the Thrashers days when our beloved hockey team was basically sabotaged from us (combination of the Spirit and the league was not so innocent of this too they wanted True North in there by any means necessary) and we were the easy victim


I do not quite agree with you on Fredi in that he has been given a bad hand to work with by Hart and upper management.  The time to fire him was after last yrs underachieving team -- its kind of hard to fire him now after that extension. 


But if they do -- I put this more on Hart and LM. 


It would be a boost to fan morale if we see the day that Liberty steps out of the way and sells out but that ain;t happening until the stadium is built and they pay their share of the stadium


As long as there is a business reason for Liberty to hang around we are stuck with them and that takes the fun our of being a baseball fan having a team run off a corporation that is business and bottom line


Agree or disagree with Mr Schultz -- you cannot say that he does not have the heart of the sports fans of our city.  Same for Bradley too. 


We really do not have a bad sports writing staff here in spite of what some critics say

chrisbeyer
chrisbeyer

Fredie presided over two August, September disasters when the Braves were in line to make the playoffs.  I said then that he was not the manager to take this team to the next level.  Of course he needs better players to work with this year but the team looks defeated before they walk out on the field and that has a lot to do with coaching.  

58Supersports
58Supersports

@reckingball  If you think its funny go read his report... its right on. I think he has better info than you and me. I can't believe  you of all great Braves fans still take up for FG after watching his inept job the last 4 years. You have a right to your opinion but you in minority on that one. 

Wilbo
Wilbo

Wow, Schultz, now even the butt kissing Braves apologists like you are beginning to notice Fredi is an incompetent boob!? Oh, btw, you simpering simpleton jerk-o-vitz, you and he share that distinction.

Biff_Pocoroba
Biff_Pocoroba

An now there's a report by Ken Rosenthal that claims Fredi's lost the clubhouse. He may not be the greatest manager, but it won't matter who the manager is. As long as Liberty Media runs the show, the Braves are going nowhere. Anyone who continues to buy their B.S. is a sucker. 

atlcrackersfan
atlcrackersfan

Casey Stengel went 373-491 in 5+ seasons managing the Boston Braves (Bees)  1938-1943,

CowbellHell
CowbellHell

Dumb article... you answer your own stupid question.  Its a rebuild and still we act suprised...maybe you should stick to your comedy routine fluff articles and leave the real sports to the other guys.

southgabrave
southgabrave

Maybe with your stupid opinion s you could start your own blog! I am sure as rude as you are the only one there would be you

southgabrave
southgabrave

You are showing your ignorance again. The article is stressing that a manager should be able to motivate and lead his team. It states he hasn't because this team quit and they did so with the Wood-Oliveda trade. I have been a Braves fan since '69 and as bad as some teams were, this one since August 1st has to be the all time worst

CynthiaTuckerrhymeswith
CynthiaTuckerrhymeswith

They should save the postage.

Most of them will need the $.55 when their 'careers' end...which will be soon.

And Fredi?  Poor Fredi, he was a bad hire just like most of the Braves' moves in the last 10 years.

Go to the source - Liberty Media.  Without an owner at the top, noting can last.  Look at the Falcons and Artie the on field munchkin.

It's a top-down business like most others.

Please, would someone with lots of spare change buy the Braves and then move them...and not to Cobb County.  How about Charlotte or Birmingham.

mar1049
mar1049

Well at least these jokers are getting a brand new stadium to play in. What other city can losers get new stadiums to play in.

Gov-waste
Gov-waste

Admit it. Freddie is a minor  league coach at best. He doesn't have the passion for a 162 game schedule, proven how he loses his team the last 30-40 game in each season. Move on.

LEWWHEEL
LEWWHEEL

Yes this bunch has struggled, probably 70 percent don't belong on a major league roster. I think the parallel is no talent no 

wins. Baseball is not a one a week event, Fredi can't have a pep rally every night. What do you suggest he do? 

Lobosolo
Lobosolo

Amazing... the readers have been suffering for years with your poor writing skills, and you come up with this... Fredi has good reason for this team to be losing, but you haven't written a decent column since forever... what's your excuse? Bad typewriter?  You and Bradley both are hacks... Does the brass at the AJC care?

Wilbo
Wilbo

I agree 100%. Schultz and Bradley are PITIFUL excuses for professional writers. Pitiful.

reckingball
reckingball

It's all Fredi's fault

Shultz, .........tell us which players are "mail it in", because they look like they are all at least trying to win. 

Maybe, Gonzalez should go out on the field and pitch, try to hit.

The team was gutted.

Centrist
Centrist

This is a more than a little unfair assessment of Fredi.  I remember a Bobby Cox team from not too long ago that lost ten in a row.  The best of teams go on a deep dive every now and then and even the best manager can't pull them out of it until the players themselves pull them out of it.  Fredi has made the right moves many times the last month or so.  Nothing has worked.  He has asked for replays several times of plays that obviously should have gone in favor of the Braves.  They did not.  To quote Jerry Reed, when you're hot you're hot, when you're not you're not.  And when you are not, nothing, I mean nothing goes right.  That's the way it is sometimes.  That's life, for all of us and for baseball teams too.  With this sad team, obviously outnumbered and outclassed, I fail to see what else Fredi Gonzalez could possibly have done to halt the slide.  Fair is fair.  This column is not.

Centrist
Centrist

@Jetiredo I'm not making any excuses, and you don't know what you are talking about.  You don't like the guy so any old piece of crap that you can dream up to throw at the guy is fair game to you. The damn team didn't quit, there's not enough team left there TO quit.  But,  you and people like you have this overwhelming compulsion to tie everything up in a nice neat agenda bow so that you can feel superior about yourselves.  So, hate on.

Kenny Powers
Kenny Powers

2011 was not fair and so was 2014…... This team quit on him this season as well and you want to make excuses.

Kenny Powers
Kenny Powers

They finally won. I guess DOB will write up a story and act like they won the world series lol he's gotta.do his boy Fredi a solid lol

RogerBurke
RogerBurke

It sure looks that way they have give up

thr2
thr2

For Fredi I feel like he's had to manage like a boxer with one hand tied behind his back. The Braves dumped so many players they had no intention of competing.I'll check back in 2016 but I expect the same until they move to become the Cobb Crackers.

BobbyDawg
BobbyDawg

John Hart and the upper management tore this team apart and Fredi is caught up in it just the same as everybody else. They showed absolutely no regard for the fans or the coaching staff.