On Wednesday The Florida Marlins fired former Braves third base coach Fredi Gonzalez as their manager. While the move came as a shock to Braves manager Bobby Cox it set off some what of a fire storm in the media and the internet suggesting that he was now the leading candidate to replace Cox who is retiring at seasons end. AJC columnist Jeff Schultz even suggested that the Braves should find him a job right now.
First and foremost Cox spoke out in support of Gonzalez which should come as no surprise.
“He called me a little before 8 this morning,” said Cox, whom Gonzalez called from the Marlins’ hotel shortly after the firing. “I was shocked. I know that guy [Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria] is unpredictable, but I was still [surprised]…. After everything he’s done for that guy, are you [kidding] me?”
“They’ve gone down to the end [competing for a playoff spot] every year, playing their asses off,” Cox said. “That guy [Loria] doesn’t appreciate anything. He’s one of those guys that thinks you change [just for the sake of change]. He’s always wanting to fire the coaches. Always. That’s his history. He lost a good one there.”
Cox’s words should come as no surprise as it is common knowledge that he holds Gonzalez in high regard as does the Braves organization. The thought was that he would be a candidate for the Braves job all along, just getting fired this early has sped that whole process up.
So should the Braves bring him on board right now? I am not sure that it would be a great idea and Braves beat writer David O’Brien doesn’t think so either. The problem is that there are other candidates for the job besides Gonzalez. People like Terry Pendleton and Eddie Perez that are working within the organization now. The last thing the Braves should look to do is cause a distraction at this point with the team playing as well as it is.
With that being said the only way the Braves should hire Gonzalez right now is if Bobby Cox himself pushes for it. At this point you have to trust his decisions and he has the pulse of the team and whether it would cause a distraction. If Gonzalez was hired it surely would be as a roving instructor or as a consultant at this point.
Gonzalez won’t be unemployed long, it will probably be up to him as he will get offers. The thought here is though will sit the rest of the year out and then throw his name in the hat for Cox’s vacant position. The Braves could do a lot worse and given that he is from the organization and has managerial experience that Pendleton and Perez don’t have make it seem like something that the Braves would do as an organization.