As the general trend with most teams, Braves fans also tend to have a love-hate (mostly hate) relationship with their manager. But when you lay aside the minutia of game management issues that arise from us watching the team so closely, Fredi is quietly putting together a list of reasons to be this year's NL manager of the year:
- He navigated losing both of his primary and potent set-up men, Venters and O'Flaherty (Nice to meet you Mr. Avilan)
- He's navigated multiple stretches with key players out due to injury: Heyward, Freeman, McCann, Uggla, both Uptons, and Gattis
- He's navigated stretches without key bench depth due to injury: Reed Johnson, Jordan Schafer, Ramerio Pena, Tyler Pastornicky
- The team expanded their lead despite losing who the rest of the world views as their "ace", Tim Hudson
- The "skipped start" move for the starting pitching could look very smart if Minor, Teheran, and Medlen look good in the playoffs
- The move to bat Jason Heyward at lead-off ending up looking very smart
- He managed the McCann/Gattis situation successfully enough for both to have great seasons
- The move to send Gattis down to Triple A for a few days may end up looking genius
- Just having Gattis on the team makes him look genius
But the main reason is because the Braves may finish with the best record in baseball, and seem likely to win the NL East going away by 10+ games (despite not being favored preseason).
In America it doesn't matter whether or not they were responsible, lucky, or just plain unlucky: the boss gets the blame when things go bad, and the credit when things go right. I would love the twisted irony of Fredi winning Manager of the Year (Though Clint Hurdle likely snatches it in the end).