Ken Rosenthal reports that Fredi Gonzalez is entering the final season of his contract with the Braves. He had signed an extension last year, but it was unknown how long it was for. Now we know: one year.
Lame duck managers used to the norm. Many teams went year-to-year with managers, including successful ones like the Dodgers, who famously had Walter Alston on a couple decades worth of one-year deals. These days, however, it is considered unusual for a manager to work with no promise of the following year. At least it is for managers who aren’t on the hot seat.
Not that Gonzalez is on the hot seat. He is a favorite of Bobby Cox and John Schuerholz and, to date, has never been held responsible to the team underperforming. But Rosenthal says that the club is going to wait and see how Gonzalez fits in with the John Hart-led Braves, who are rebuilding.
I moan and complain about Gonzalez a lot because he’s aggravating to fans who watch the team day-in, day-out. At the same time I will be the first to admit that talent — healthy talent — and not the manager, is the most important factor to a winning ballclub. My guess is that Gonzalez, who has always been a good company man, won’t stand in the way of whatever experiments Hart undertakes with the Braves over the next couple of years and that, as a result, will get an extension at some point.