No one really knows where the Braves currently stand with their search for a new general manager, but it seems we have a pretty good idea based on media reports. Even though John Schuerholz denied offering John Hart the permanent gig earlier this morning, it sounds like Hart may be the guy.
It makes sense for the Braves to tab Hart as the general manager, at least for a few years.
Hart, 66, has spent his entire life around baseball. He knows the league as well as anyone. He was very successful with the Cleveland Indians in the 1990s and helped groom John Daniels, the current GM of the Rangers, during a stint in Texas from 2001-2005.
While I'm on the John Coppolella For GM train, it's not tough to see why the Braves would want Hart for the job.
The Braves are a mess right now. They have arguably the worst contract in baseball for another three years with B.J. Upton. There's another $13 million in dead money owed to Dan Uggla in 2015. Chris Johnson's extension (LOL) isn't exactly team-friendly for the next three seasons.
Two of the team's best players, Jason Heyward and Justin Upton, only have a year left before free agency. There's at least a decent chance they are both leave town in the next 13 months or so.
The starting rotation could be bad next year – besides Julio Teheran and Alex Wood, there's no one really penciled in for a slot. Mike Minor could be, but his shoulder concerns are very real, and he's a decent No. 3 starter, at best.
Coppolella is a young, rising star in the industry, but he has little experience running the show. Is it really the best idea to shovel all the Braves' current crap on him as he looks to rebuild the club? He'd take on a team with zero financial flexibility for next season, and he'd possibly lose two All-Star-caliber players the following year.
There would be little pressure on Hart. If his first few years in Atlanta weren't successful, he'd at least clear out a couple of ugly contracts for Coppolella or the next GM. It would be a clean slate right before the new stadium opened.
Braves fans – like all fans of winning franchises – are an impatient bunch when it comes to winning. They want to win big, and they want to win big right now. That's understandable.
Given all of Hart's experience, it would make sense to make him GM for at least a few years. It wouldn't necessarily be a popular move and there would certainly be skeptics, but it may be the safest course of action for the Braves, at least in a big-picture sense.