Many Braves fans have been waiting literal years for it to happen, but it took a new general manager and a record that's embarrassing even for a rebuild team to get Atlanta to the point they agreed. Manager Fredi Gonzalez has been fired, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Now, the rebuild feels like it's moving along that much further. Gonzalez was unlikely to survive 2016 as Braves manager, so now Atlanta gets to either hire the one they want to be around the next time the team is any good, or they sit back and let an interim manager handle things for a bit while the Braves are at their worst. For now, Brian Snitker, the Braves manager for their Triple-A team and Atlanta's former third-base coach, is taking over.
Bud Black, fired by the Padres last June and nearly hired by the Nationals this offseason, was seen as an early favorite to replace Gonzalez before Gonzalez had even been released. Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo is the other name that has come up -- Lovullo's contract kept him from interviewing for a manager position this past offseason as a precaution given John Farrell's recent bout with cancer, but he's now free to seek a promotion elsewhere if he chooses.
Gonzalez's Braves had a mixed track record. They were a winning club in his first three seasons, with 89, 94 and 96 victories, but that dropped to 79, 67 and then this year's current 9-28 team -- it's worth pointing out the Braves posted winning records in the two seasons before Gonzalez arrived, too. Not all of these losses were his fault, but he wasn't the most effective decision maker even when the going was good, and the Braves felt it was time to move on as they try to enter their next era of baseball.