Sep 25, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves managerFredi Gonzalez
(33) sits in the dugout in the seventh inning of their game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Turner Field. The Pirates won 10-1. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
3. Fredi Gonzalez (Atlanta Braves)
Now is where it gets tricky.
I put the Phillies and Mets managers lower on the list because while they don’t have much talent, they don’t seem to be maximizing it. Plus, they are noted for questionable decisions and a fractured clubhouse. To me, having a unified clubhouse and making sound decisions make you a better manager. That being said, I still can’t reward too much incompetence.
Fortunately for this ranking, everyone – outside of the Nats, of course – had a down year. Therefore, my rankings can be based more on how they handle the team without letting team record be the deciding factor.
The Atlanta Braves, led by Fredi Gonzalez, were supposed to contend for a playoff spot last year until they fell apart down the stretch, prompting the team to enter full on rebuilding mode. The Braves traded Justin Upton to the Padres and Evan Gattis to the Astros for a slew of prospects. Next year is not looking good for the fifth year manager, but at least he has the comfort of one more season to prove his worth as he earned a contract extension through the 2015 season.
What is more telling to me is the public backing of Bobby Cox and the seeming lack of problems in the clubhouse. Fredi Gonzalez is a relatively young manager who got his start in the big leagues managing the then Florida Marlins in 2007 and has been at the helm of the Braves since 2011. As Bobby Cox’s hand picked replacement, he has guided the Braves to a .552 winning percentage, and, as all Nats fans are long to forget, the NL East pennant in 2013.
In Fredi Gonzalez’s case, his success stems partly from talent and from maximizing that talent through managerial skill.
It is hard to find fault in a manager’s record when the front office decides to enter full on rebuild mode, However, that rebuild could include Fredi Gonzalez’s job, which earns him third place on our list of NL East managers.
Next: NL East Manager: Number 2