Just last night, the Braves suffered an 8-5 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was their 28th loss of the young-and-already lost season and even though there were recently major rumblings of Fredi Gonzalez being fired, it seemed as if he'd weathered the storm and would at least receive some more time to reside over this current mess of a baseball team. However, this isn't like the movies where you can see your demise coming -- in most real-life situations, it comes out of nowhere, and this is what happened in the case of Fredi Gonzalez. Another defeat in mid-May ended up being the final loss of Fredi's tenure as manager of the Braves.
As I stated in a post from earlier this month, Fredi shouldn't be seen as the sole reason for this team's poor performance, and this is probably the end result of years of sub-par management. If this particular Braves team even got close to .500, it would be considered a minor miracle. Only a handful of players on the current 25-man roster will be on the team by this time next year, since this was very much a ragtag group that was assembled by the front office. This was always going to be a lost season, and unfortunately this ended up resulting in Fredi losing his job over it.
However, as I've mentioned before, Fredi probably shouldn't have been in charge of the 2016 team to begin with. I'd argue that he lasted about 200 games too many, as you could make a very good case (as Scott Coleman did earlier today) for moving on from Fredi after the disastrous end to the 2014 season. It was second time in four seasons that a Fredi-led team went from playoff contention to missing the playoffs entirely after skidding to the finish line. The horrific collapse in 2011 could've just been chalked up to being a fluke 100-year storm of historical proportions that the team would ultimately make up for by stringing together two consecutive seasons of 90+ wins. But the way that the team fell by the wayside as the 2014 season wore on was inexcusable -- particularly the end of it.
After play ended on August 10th, 2014, the Braves had beaten the Nationals 3-1 and were 3.5 games behind in the division and within striking distance of Washington. By the end of the season on September 28th, 2014, the Braves had limped to the end of the season by finishing a cool 17 games behind the Nationals. That -- combined with the tactical bullpen blunder that led to the team exiting the 2013 NLDS -- should've spelled the end of Fredi's time here.
However, after the Braves parted ways with Frank Wren and brought on John Hart as the President of Baseball Operations, Fredi was given another shot. Granted, the fact that last year's team floated around .500 for as long as it did was impressive, but the writing was on the wall after the team once again floundered and finished with a record that was close to what we all expected of them to begin the season. Again, this would've been prime time to move on from Fredi, but for some reason it didn't happen.
Now we've come to the 2016 season, and the dumpster fire of a team that's on the field right now has finally become the catalyst for the front office to give Fredi his walking papers. Again, it's a shame that he's catching a lot of the blame for this team -- we all expected them to be bad, but some of the under-performance from the veterans has been astonishing, and naturally, the blame falls on the manager for that when a team is struggling as badly as the Braves are this year. It's totally reasonable to agree with the firing but also see that Fredi's getting a bit of a bum rap here for not working miracles with a bad team.
Either way, it was past time for the Braves to move on. Fredi wasn't going to be the manager of this team as they moved on to the next step of the rebuilding process, and he wasn't the right man for the job when the franchise had a squad that was capable of competing with the best teams in baseball. Now, it's time to observe the direction that the Braves go in once they begin their managerial search in earnest. Will they stay within the organization and give a familiar face a chance, or will they look outside for a manager with experience and solid credentials? Either way, this was a decision that should've been made a while back, but it's still the right decision.