Braves make it official, hire Fredi Gonzalez through 2013

Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox leaves the dugout for pre-game ceremonies before their MLB National League baseball game against the Washington Nationals in Washington September 26, 2010. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

Jon Paul Morosi of is reporting that Fredi Gonzalez will receive a three-year contract to manage the Braves with an option for a fourth year.

This was absolutely the right decision for the Braves. They could go 10-152 next year and this would still have been the right decision for the Braves.

Look, nobody is going to replace Bobby Cox – he’s Bobby Cox. Usually when a manager leaves, it’s because everyone from the media to the fans wanted him gone (if not dead in some cities). But Cox has been one of the most well respected managers in the game of baseball for a very long time, so it’s hard to say that anyone can “replace” him.

But why not hire someone who has worked under Cox? Why not hire someone who is also well liked by the players, the media and the fans? Furthermore, why drag the process out if you know he’s going to be the one to win the position in the end?

I like what the Braves did here. They didn’t prolong the search process when they knew Gonzalez was going to be the choice and they moved quickly to secure his services. Too many teams drag the process out because they’re scared of making the wrong decision. But Atlanta knew whom it waned and went out and got him.

Good luck, Fredi. You have some big shoes to fill.

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Fredi Gonzalez to replace Bobby Cox in Atlanta?

Atlanta Braves Bobby Cox is lifted up by his players while celebrating after clinching the National League wild card in Atlanta, Georgia, October 3, 2010. The Braves clinched after the San Diego Padres lost their game to the San Francisco Giants. At left is the Braves Matt Diaz. REUTERS/Tami Chappell (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Ken Rodriguez of FOX 5 in Atlanta is reporting that former Marlins’ manager Fredi Gonzalez will be named the Braves’ next manager.

Bobby Cox managed his last game in Atlanta on Monday as the Giants eliminated the Braves in Game 4 of the ALDS. He said before the season started that he would retire at the end of the year and it’s been long rumored that Gonzalez would eventually take his spot.

Gonzalez was Atlanta’s third base coach in 2007 before he was hired by the Marlins. He was let go not too long after he butted heads with star shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who failed to hustle after a ball that he booted into the outfield during a regular season game. Even though the media lauded him for the way he handled the situation, Florida eventually decided to move in another direction and Gonzalez was replaced.

Despite his struggles in Florida this year, he’s a solid manager and is well respected in Atlanta. He’s the perfect candidate to take over a team that has some budding young stars, but who generally needs an overhaul at the position spots. Assuming he is named their next manager (Cox’s farewell press conference is held for Wednesday, so Atlanta may make an announcement soon thereafter), it would be a good move for the Braves.

Fredi Gonzalez a candidate to replace Piniella as Cubs’ next manager

CHICAGO - JANUARY 01:  Former Chicago Cubs second baseman and Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg waves to the fans during pregame festivities prior to the Winter Classic between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings during the NHL Winter Classic at Wrigley Field on January 1, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

According to ESPN Chicago, former Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez will be one of the candidates interviewed by the Cubs to replace Lou Piniella at the end of the season. Piniella announced his retirement yesterday, which will be effective immediately following the season.

Gonzalez, who was fired by the Marlins on June 24, has a long personal and professional relationship with Cubs general manager Jim Hendry stemming from the time they worked together with the Marlins.

Gonzalez, who has interviewed with the Cubs in the past, is the consensus top choice to replace Bobby Cox as manager of the Atlanta Braves, according to multiple baseball sources.

If I were to put on my prediction hat (which is essentially the sleeve off one of my old T-shirts that I fashioned into a hat), I’d say that Gonzalez winds up in Atlanta and Ryne Sandberg (photo) replaces Piniella in Chicago. Sandberg has been craving the Cubs’ job for a couple of years now. He wants it. He needs it. He wants to make sweet, sweet managerial love to it.

Of course, hiring Sandberg (who was a mega fan favorite in Chicago, which is about 10 notches above just a regular fan favorite in case you were wondering) makes too much sense. And nothing Cubs’ management does every makes sense.

Is Ozzie Gullen the Marlins’ top choice?

Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen comes out of the dugout to argue a call against the Chicago Cubs during the second inning at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago on June 27, 2010.  UPI/Brian Kersey Photo via Newscom

According to the Chicago Tribune, White Sox skipper Ozzie Guillen is the Marlins’ top choice to replace Fredi Gonzalez as manager if he were to become available after the season.

The Marlins’ decision to keep Edwin Rodriguez as manager through the end of the year came about because ownership wants to see which managers are available after the season. Ozzie Guillen would be at the top of the Marlins’ list if he were available. …

It’s a little odd that the Tribune would have that sort of information hidden in an article and not provide more details as to why the Marlins want Ozzie. But maybe they don’t have any more information outside of that.

Guillen was a coach with the Marlins in 2003 when they won the World Series, so he has ties to Florida. There’s no doubt he could provide a spark for the Marlins young roster and he’s already proved that he can win. It wouldn’t be a bad fit.

One thing’s for sure, I would want front row seats to the first Ozzie-Hanley argument if Guillen does wind up in South Florida. What a fireworks display that would be.

Change of plans: Valentine not expected to land Marlins manager job’s Jon Heyman reports that Bobby Valentine is no longer being considered for the Marlins’ vacant manager job, despite rumors last week that stated he was their top choice.

Valentine had been viewed as the top candidate for the job since Fredi Gonzalez was fired last week, and sources told and other outlets on Friday that the longtime friend of Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria would indeed be hired. ESPN, Valentine’s employer for the past several months, reported that the Marlins were expected to make a four-year offer to him.

But that same day, a person familiar with the search told The Associated Press that an interview between Valentine and the Marlins scheduled for Friday had been put on hold.

Why negotiations between Valentine and the team ended was not immediately known. He has a long relationship with Loria, having managed the Rangers when Loria owned that franchise’s Triple-A affiliate. Valentine has a record in the majors of 1,117-1,072, and ended a six-year run as manager of the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League in 2009.

This is surprising news and it would be interesting to hear what happened between Valentine and the Marlins that made discussions break down. Maybe Valentine was demanding more than Loria wanted to give, either financially or in terms of control over the team.

Edwin Rodriguez will continue to manager the Fish as they make their way to Puerto Rico for a three-game series against the Mets this week.

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