Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Pros and Cons of Fredi Gonzalez

Heaven help Fredi Gonzolez. First, he had the no-win situation of managing the Marlins with the lowest payroll in baseball, a cheapskate owner and a temperamental superstar shortstop. After pulling off two winning seasons with the Marlins with THAT payroll, Gonzalez got blamed for a mediocre start by the Marlins this year. Now, after all those indignities, he gets to replace a legend for the Atlanta Braves. How can you ever fill those shoes? Joe Girardi has found a way in New York to follow Joe Torre. Girardi has done it with grace and with an affinity for caring about his players that they respond to. But even so, Torre wasn't as entrenched in the Yankees orbit as Bobby Cox was for the Braves. For many people, Bobby Cox WAS the Braves.

It would seem to be a bit unfair to rate Fredi Gonzalez's chances without really knowing the guy. And so the pros and cons that will follow are not just about Fredi Gonzalez, but also for him. In other words, this isn't a post about the pros and cons of Fredi Gonzalez, but also a post about the pros and cons for Gonzalez personally.

Let's start with the positive::

  • Was a combined +7 on his Pythagorean win/loss rating based on the Marlins' run differential. That's excellent.
  • Was twelve games over .500 last year with a team that was last in payroll, couldn't field and had huge holes in its line up and bullpen.
  • He is a minority manager, which is always good for the game in a political sense.
  • Paid is dues big time in the minors and has been managing since 1991.
  • Now leading a team with a warrior mentality with a group of players that really seem to like each other and play hard.
  • Excellent young players in Heyward, Hanson and in the bullpen.
  • Good group of starting pitchers with Hudson, Hanson and Lowe.
  • Everybody seems to like him.
  • Knows the Braves and they know him since he coached for them in the early aughts.
  • Expectations are lowered because the Braves haven't been good of late except for this season.
  • Probably works fairly cheaply compared to some other managerial talent out there.
  • Very good general manager to work with.
  • Was a catcher as a player. Those seem to make good managers.

Okay, now the negatives:

  • Chipper Jones will probably come back one more season. He can no longer field adequately. That presents a headache for Gonzalez. And what if the legend doesn't hit?
  • Never seemed able to get Hanley Ramirez to stay focused and give consistent effort. But then, maybe nobody could accomplish that.
  • Gave Bonifacio 500 plate appearances. Unforgivable.
  • Following a legend. Nothing can compare to that.
  • Left Dan Uggla at second base when he had the chance to move him with Coghlan.
  • Braves have some monetary constraints so they can't just go out and get studs. But, it will seem like glory days compared to Florida's payroll.
  • Hudson and Lowe will be another year older. Neither are spring chickens.
  • Never played in the major leagues. Only got as high as Double A ball. That is sometimes a problem when managing major league players.

Personally, this Fan thinks that Gonzalez will be just fine. Despite the money he had to work with in Florida, he kept them competitive and out performed his run differential. He has nearly twenty years experience including three and a half years in the big leagues. The Braves could have done a lot worse than to select Fredi Gonzalez as their manager.

1 comment:

The Baseball Journeyman said...

I am very excited about the Braves signing on Freddi. He has spent a lot of time under Bobby and I think that is key. He will come in and not miss a beat. I think he is a find manager and if we can give him some offense, I like our chances.