With things on the trade front as quiet as a church mouse, the Atlanta Braves made a little Winter Meetings news by doing something extremely smart. They picked up the 2014 option on Fredi Gonzalez’s contract. The departure of Bobby Cox could have thrown the Braves organization into a swoon that could have taken years to get out of. Gonzalez stepped into the shoes of a Hall-of-Famer and never missed a step. Because of that, the team never missed a step either.
If Cox had any weaknesses it wasn’t readily apparent and yet the organization seems to be running almost better with him in a different role and Gonzalez in the managerial spot. The change that is coming while they try to overcome the tremendous Chipper Jones sized hole will be a challenge for sure. The fact that Gonzalez can lead without thinking about contract issues will only help as they overcome that and other challenges.
One thing the Braves have done right over the years is not blame the manager for everything that goes wrong. Sometimes the players are at fault and sometimes the team just isn’t that good yet the manager so many times gets the consequences. Gonzalez knows this all too well after his mid-season departure from the Miami Marlins a few years ago. He can sleep well knowing that when he does his best possible job night in and night out, his place with his team will be secure. Whether or not things go perfectly over the next couple of years, I’d be surprised if Gonzalez is wearing any other uniform over the next decade than that of the Atlanta Braves.