One day after being mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, the Atlanta Braves have fired general manager Frank Wren. John Hart will be serving as the interim GM until a replacement is found.
Fans have been calling for Wren’s head for some time now, and the calls have gotten much louder as this year’s collapse became more and more of a reality. In Wren’s seven years in that post, the team made the playoffs three times, great for some franchises, but a mediocre mark when you look at the success Atlanta has had in recent years.
A search committee led by John Hart, John Schuerholz and Bobby Cox will attempt to find the next best candidate for the job. There’s still no word on anyone they may be considering.
Of course, Wren’s firing is going to cause Fredi Gonzalez to question his job security, and rightfully so. I’d be surprised if he’s around come November, but that opinion doesn’t seem to be the consensus. Kevin McAlpin of Braves Radio Net (a must follow for Braves fans), Tweeted today that he thinks Gonzalez will be with the team in the spring.
— Kevin McAlpin (@KevinMcAlpin) September 22, 2014
I’d say that with the past few years of teams playing strong in the first two thirds of the season and then crumbling by September, there’s little reason for Gonzalez to remain in Atlanta. Sure, he’s a manager that the players seem to like and he has had some success, but that’s not enough for a team with the talent to be a championship contender. It’s also rather uncommon (though not unheard of) for a new GM to not have a say in who the manager is.
All things considered, this Braves team may have still over-performed this year. They had more than their fair share of injuries to the pitching staff, yet were third in the NL in team ERA.1 Their offense was dreadful almost the entire year, yet the team is going to be right around .500. It could’ve been worse. But could’ve been worse isn’t good enough for a team that made the playoffs 14 years in a row a mere decade ago.