There isn’t much question of whether or not the Atlanta Braves (9-28) are thus far the worst team in all of baseball to begin 2016. The question is where do the Braves put the blame on their recent failures? On Tuesday, as reported by ESPN, the Braves announced that manager Fredi Gonzalez has been fired after five years at the helm. Gonzalez will be replaced by Brian Snitker, manager of Atlanta’s Triple-A Gwinnett farm team, for the remainder of the season.
The Atlanta Braves have reportedly fired manager Fredi Gonzalez after a 9-28 start to the season. https://t.co/mqGKrY52wR
— Baseball Tonight (@BBTN) May 17, 2016
The firing of an MLB team’s manager which started a season 9-28 may not come as much of a surprise to most baseball fans. But, when you break down the talent that is currently on the Braves’ roster and the rebuilding process that the club is currently going through, it is hard to make Fredi Gonzalez out to be the main source of the Atlanta Braves’ underachieving thus far in 2016.
Outside of first baseman Freddie Freeman and center fielder Ender Inciarte, the Braves really do not have any players on their current 25-man roster that are realistically going to be part of this club for the long haul. In the last several seasons, the Braves have traded away promising young talent such as pitcher Shelby Miller (off to a terrible start with Arizona), closing pitcher Craig Kimbrel, shortstop Andrelton Simmons, and outfielders Jason Heyward and Justin Upton. The Braves realized that while this core of players was solid, they were not enough to give them a realistic chance of competing for a playoff spot in the NL East year in and year out, especially when you look at the talent possessed by the Miami Marlins, Washington Nationals, and New York Mets in all areas of the field.
Simply put: this roster is not built to succeed, especially when you consider the fact that only two of the Braves starting nine on a given day are under the age of 30. The Braves do have a lot of talent in their farm system, but the majority of those players still need a year or two of development in order to succeed at the Major League level. Fredi Gonzalez was dealt an almost impossible hand heading into the 2016 season. For the Braves to fire him rather than those who are working in the club’s front office and okayed these ridiculous decisions to blow up the team’s roster the last several seasons is absolutely ridiculous. When you have a roster that is built like the Atlanta Braves in a division like the NL East, which has basically an infinite amount of young/star talent, your team is going to struggle immensely.
The Braves obviously want to show their fans that they are working and trying hard to make changes in order to get better. Historically, the Atlanta Braves are a proud franchise after the success the club had in the 90’s and early 2000’s. Now, the Atlanta Braves are a complete laughing stock. Fredi Gonzalez was in a no-win situation with this group of players and his termination is extremely unfair, but sadly, that is the business of Major League Baseball and all professional sports. You only have so long to turn a club around and bring success to your city, and Fredi Gonzalez simply could not do that with this team. Hopefully, the Braves aren’t hoping that Brian Snitker will turn them into a Wild Card contender because that will be almost impossible to do with this group. Things are only going to get a lot worse before they get better for the Braves.