Fredi Gonzalez is the new manager of the Atlanta Braves. The team moved very quickly to replace the retiring Bobby Cox, and it is clear that they wanted to make a move as soon as they possibly could. According to ESPN, the official announcement will be coming on Thursday when Gonzalez will be introduced through a press conference. It might also be pretty obvious that Atlanta was talking with Gonzalez before Cox managed his final game for the Braves, and that they wanted to make this a seamless transition for the franchise.
Gonzalez had been the manager for the Florida Marlins the past four years, with his best season coming in 2009, when the team finished with an 87-75 record. Gonzalez did a lot with that team, posting an overall record of 276-279 during his time there, but this last season there seemed to be a lot of friction between Gonzalez and Marlins star player Hanley Ramirez. That could have been part of the reason that the Marlins fired him in June, and that made him available to sign with any other team. Now he will get the chance to work for a franchise that is willing to spend a bit more on player salaries than the Marlins.
Gonzalez already has had a relationship with the Atlanta Braves, and he worked for Cox from 2003-06 as their third base coach. Before that, he was a minor league coach for the Braves, so he already knows the organization and a number of the players on that roster very well. That gives him a unique advantage to gaining the respect of this team, and it makes him a really smart choice to replace one of the longest-tenured managers we have seen baseball have in quite some time. The retirement of Cox had been planned for a while, and hiring Gonzalez is a very good move for Atlanta.
Bobby Cox leaves Atlanta after 29 years as a manager in the big leagues. He has an overall record of 2,504-2,001 during that time, with five National League Championships and a World Series title on his resume. That World Series was in 1995, when the strong pitching of the Braves took them all the way. Six times Cox managed a Braves team that won 100 or more games, with a high of 106 in the 1998 season. In 2010, he led the Braves to one more appearance in the playoffs as they became the 2010 National League Wild Card team. They were eliminated by the San Francisco Giants on Monday, and that began the new era for the Braves.