Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez is in a bad position. His team is terrible. It was designed to be terrible and there is no hope that it won’t be terrible for the rest of the year. He’s likewise a lame duck and the organization has made no secret of the fact that next year, with the new stadium, will come a new beginning of some kind. The odds of him managing the Braves on Opening Day 2017 are zero and have been for a while.
The question, then, was always going to be how long he lasts. Given the Braves’ awful start it seems pretty clear that “until the end of the season” is not a reasonable guess either. Now it’s just a matter of when. Here’s a pretty good sign that “when” will be “in the next week and maybe even before the weekend”
You can click through to the column and get the straightforward and reasonable answer about it being time to make a change and how this isn’t Fredi’s fault but, hey, teams that go through this fire managers and thus Fredi will be fired and should be.
But the key thing here is that the column was written at all. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution folks have a pretty good relationship with the Braves’ front office. They’re not house organs or anything, but they’re plugged in and, when something is suggested to them from the front office, they tend to run with it in less critical ways than their counterparts in some other cities might. Based on my reading of AJC coverage of this team for the past 20 years or so, that Bradley is writing this column strongly suggests to me that someone with the Braves said to him “you know, it wouldn’t make you look dumb to write a fire Fredi column,” or something to that effect.
As for firing Gonzalez, yeah, he’d be a scapegoat. But it’s not like he’d be some uniquely wronged scapegoat. Like I said, managers in his position are almost always fired, even if the roster was dead on arrival and even if the record is not his fault. And to be sure, it’s not like Gonzalez was some amazing manager to begin with. Back when the team had an actually good roster he didn’t cover himself in glory managing it. Notably, he had the confidence of the front office then. Notably, no one who writes for the AJC was calling for his firing when he was squandering the Braves’ assets.
Regardless, I take this as a strong sign that Fredi is gone, maybe as soon as today, but if I was putting money on it I’d say no later than a week from today, when they have an off day just before beginning a homestand.