Posted by: furmanbisher | October 16, 2010

Changing of the Guard

Well, the dreaded day is here. Bobby Cox has taken his leave and soon all we’ll be left with are memories. We’ve had a year to get ready for it. He’d made it known after last  season that he would be walking off into the sunset, and by gum, he almost walked out with one last post-season flourish. Retirement! That’s his next duty, and I hope he’s ready for it.

I can tell him this—retirement is not what it’s cracked up to be. You’re left in charge of nothing. Nobody is taking your orders any more. Instead, you’re just watering the flowers and mowing the lawn. Not only that, but he has acreage to preside over at his farm place up around Adairsville. I’m probably over-simplifying this, for he will still have his place in the Braves’ heirarchy as a “consultant,” whatever a consultant does. Nobody asked me, but I’d guess he’ll do more consulting than retiring. When he was a lot younger, the New York Yankees saw something more in him that led them to set him up for the career he found in  managing. He started off as a first base coach for one major league season, then Lee MacPhail saw leadership in him, and it started at the bottom rung, a farm club in Ft. Lauderdale.

Somebody has a lot of restructuring of the Braves roster to take care of, and I’d be mighty surprised if Frank Wren might not put Bobby’s consultant talents to work early. And so might Bobby’s successor, Fredi Gonzalez. These two have a lot in common, familiarity with personnel, similar personalities—though Fredi’s smile doesn’t come through as easily as Bobby’s—and an aversion for repugnant umpiring.

I’m already reading some negative supposition in the switch, though I don’t take it seriously. A new hitting coach replacing Terry Pendleton? True, these Braves ran low on offense, so it seemed–actually only five teams hit fewer home runs, but then only five teams had higher batting averages—each night making out the lineup was like drawing straws. Blame Pendleton? I’m not so sure. Defrock the pitching coach? I’d hardly say so. Pitching was the Braves’ forte. Only two teams had a better earned-run average. Oh, no, you don’t go messing with the pitching, or the pitching coach. This was a team with pitching that was thrown into a mixer and stirred. At one time it seemed they were commuting from Lawrenceville. And in the closing days, they did indeed use a starter who had never before pitching in the major leagues—Brandon Beachy, to remind you.

So we leave Fredi Gonzalez’ staff to Fredi, and if he needs consultation, he can always consult with the Consultant. Enjoy “retirement,” Bobby. HA!


Responses

  1. Fredi’s going to do alright!

    The Braves need to go out and get two good hitting outfielders, perferably with quality gloves. Whether Chipper returns next season in form or not concerns me less. Infante and Prado have already proven they are more than merely capable at either position.

    Freddy Freeman has earned first base and we should expect an even better Jason Heyward.

    Gonzalez will return at shortstop and will hit eighth, which is a good spot for him considering his occasional power.

    So, we come back to the main point — if the Braves get those two outfield bats they sorely need then Fredi can put a good team on the field. I don’t put much stock in McClouth, but realize the Braves cannot simply eat his contract. So, put him on the bench because at least he’s a good glove and can run.

    Melkie Cabrerra was the weakest link in Frank Wren’s previous off season acquisitions. I sure hope that minor league pitcher we got from the Yankees is working out! He will give you all he has, but what he has isn’t often enough!

    Eric Hinskie would be a nice player to retain.

    The pitching staff — status quo all the way!


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