Multiple sources are reporting that Fredi Gonzalez has been fired by the Atlanta Braves this morning, becoming the first skipper let go in 2016. The Braves, in the middle of a very public rebuilding process, are 9-28 on the year, and are 434-413 in more than five years under Gonzalez. As Ken Rosenthal points out, this means there are no Latino managers left in the Majors:
I've written before about this problem, especially in a league increasingly populated by Latin ballplayers.
60-year old Brian Snitker, a career minor league coach who, until today managed the Gwinnett Braves, will take over in the interim until a permanent manager can be found. As loyal an organizational guy as you can find, Snitker played in the Braves system from 1977-1980, reaching as high as Triple-A. He has managed 20 seasons in the minors, all for the Braves organization, so this is a nice reward for a lifetime of service.
None of the current disaster in Atlanta is Fredi's fault, necessarily. He's not hurting anything. In 2014, the Braves looked like a team on the rise, with young stars Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman, Andrelton Simmons, Justin Upton, Evan Gattis, Julio Teheran, and Craig Kimbrel to build around. But the notoriously cost-conscious Braves refused to make an effort to hold on to this core, and two years later only Freeman and Teheran are left.
Filled with replacement level talent, the Braves are hitting just .229/.292/.302 as a team, with 114 runs scored in 37 games (3.08 runs/game). The pitching has been little better, 11th in the National League in runs allowed. They expected to be awful and, with the worst record in Major League Baseball, have fulfilled their destiny. Billy Martin back from the dead wasn't going to get them out of last place in the NL East.
This is not to say that Gonzalez was the right person to lead them going forward. Tactically, Fredi still loves his sacrifice bunts and small ball, hasn't learned anything from his refusal to use Craig Kimbrel in 2013 against the Dodgers, and hasn't demonstrated a great ability to help youngsters develop. Certainly the hope is that Snitker will fare better, given his experience with minor leaguers. Firing Fredi now removes a point of contention and distraction for the team going forward, ends a ton of speculation, and allows them to get a jumpstart on their managerial search.
After all, I hear Brad Ausmus could be available in a few days.