The Braves are bringing back Fredi Gonzalez for his fifth season as the manager of the team. The Braves also announced Bo Porter will be the new third base coach, replacing the fired Doug Dascenzo. Also, assistant hitting coach Scott Fletcher has been let go.
The announcement was made by interim general manager John Hart, which signals that Hart will likely remain in a leadership position with the Braves. Last week, when Hart was joined by Braves president John Schuerholz and former manager Bobby Cox as the transition team, it was believed the new general manager would have a say in Gonzalez’s future.
There is a belief more announcements could come next week, perhaps with Hart assuming a more permanent role – at least for a year or two – and John Coppolella, the assistant GM, more or less becoming the general-manager-in-waiting.
Gonzalez still had support in the organization even after the man that hired him four years ago, Frank Wren, was fired on September 22. Cox was Gonzalez’s biggest ally and even said gave a glowing endorsement of his former third base coach last week in the press conference.
The Braves just finished a hugely disappointing season with a 79-83 record. It was believed in spring training the season might be a challenge with the March injuries to Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy and Cory Gearrin. However, the offense was the huge problem for the Braves, which resulted in Fletcher’s dismissal and the resignation earlier this week of hitting coach Greg Walker.
Atlanta has made the playoffs twice in Gonzalez’s four seasons, with one NL East title in 2013. In Gonzalez’s first season, the Braves lost out on the wildcard by one game after collapsing in the month of September. They had a record of 80-55 through August but went 9-18 in the final month to lose the wildcard to the Cardinals.
Then the next season, in the first year of the new format, the Braves lost the wildcard play-in game to St. Louis at Turner Field. That was the infamous ‘outfield fly-rule’ game. Then in 2013, the Braves lost the Division Series to the Dodgers. Gonzalez was heavily criticized in that deciding game four as he stuck with reliever David Carpenter instead of using closer Craig Kimbrel in the ninth inning.
Atlanta started this past season 17-7 in April, but went 62-76 the rest of the season. The Braves were 27-40 after the All-Star Break.
Porter was fired as manager of the Houston Astros in September after almost two years on the job. Porter played for Gonzalez in Richmond for the Braves Triple-A affiliate in 2002 and was then Gonzalez’s third base coach with the Marlins from 2007 through 2009.
The Braves also announced that bench coach Carlos Tosca, pitching coach Roger McDowell, first base coach Terry Pendleton and bullpen coach Eddie Perez would return in 2015. The team will be searching for replacements for Walker and Fletcher.
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Fredi Gonzalez to manage Braves in 2015
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