Tag:Fredi Gonzalez
Posted on: June 3, 2011 7:04 pm
Edited on: June 3, 2011 8:07 pm

Braves to McCann: Go ahead, block the plate

NEW YORK -- Like the Giants, the Braves have a catcher who bats cleanup. Like the Giants, the Braves have had trouble scoring runs and need that catcher in the lineup regularly.

But even with what happened to Buster Posey, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he would want Brian McCann to block the plate to cut off a run.

"You can't worry," Gonzalez said Friday. "People have gotten hurt coming down the steps. I don't think you can tell an athlete, a competitor, 'Don't block the plate.'

"I want him to give us an opportunity to win the game, and if that's by blocking the plate, it's by blocking the plate. I couldn't bring myself to say that to Brian -- don't block the plate."

Gonzalez, the former Marlins manager, also defended Marlins outfielder Scott Cousins, saying he thought Cousins did nothing wrong in the play on which Posey was hurt.

"I've looked over the film," Gonzalez said. "I thought it was a clean play."

Posted on: June 23, 2010 5:34 pm

In the end, maybe this is best for all

So maybe this works out best for everyone.

Best for the Braves, who have always had their eye on Fredi Gonzalez as a possible replacement when Bobby Cox retires. Best for Gonzalez, who was never going to completely please owner Jeffrey Loria unless he won the World Series (and perhaps not even then), and now will be free to go somewhere he gets the respect he deserves.

Best for Loria, who in an interview earlier this year described Bobby Valentine as "someone I've known for 25 years," spoke lovingly about his players, and had almost nothing at all to say about Gonzalez.

Already today, just after the Marlins fired Gonzalez as manager, Valentine told his current employer, ESPN, that he now has no interest in the Orioles job, and prefers to "direct my energy in another direction."

That's understandable. The Marlins aren't nearly as good as Loria thinks they are, but they're far, far better than the Orioles. And while the National League East is better than people think it is, it's far, far less challenging than the American League East.

The Marlins job suits Valentine, and perhaps he suits the Marlins, too, as someone who will have expectations every bit as high as Loria's.

The Braves job suits Gonzalez, too. It won't be easy to replace Cox, who has remained hugely popular with his players. But who better to do it than someone who worked as a coach under Cox, operates as much as possible the way Cox does, and would come in with a ringing endorsement from Cox.

There are some in baseball who wonder if the Cox connection would actually hurt Gonzalez's chances with a front office that has battled with Cox in recent times. But people close to general manager Frank Wren suggested that Wren would be happy to hire Gonzalez.

The Braves have long said that they don't want to talk about a Cox successor, because they don't want to do anything to take away from the celebration of Cox's final season. But they don't need to talk about it right now.

The Marlins, who named Edwin Rodriguez as interim manager, should want to move fast on a permanent replacement. Unlike the Orioles, whose season is already lost, the Marlins remain within striking distance in the NL East.

Is Valentine the guy who can pull them back into the race, maybe do what Jack McKeon did when he took over the Marlins in midseason 2003? Perhaps, but despite what Loria thinks, right now the Marlins look no better than the third- (or maybe fourth-) best team in the division.

Valentine has a history of success, particularly early in his stay.

Maybe he takes this job, and it works out best for him, and for the Marlins. And maybe Gonzalez really does take over for Cox after this season, and it works out best for him and for the Braves, too.

Posted on: March 15, 2010 6:59 pm
Edited on: March 15, 2010 7:04 pm

Liriano healthy, happy and 'ready to start'

JUPITER, Fla. -- Yes, it's true, Francisco Liriano looks healthy this spring.

Yes, it's true, with the injury to closer Joe Nathan, the Twins have thought about using Liriano as their closer, because they have depth in the rotation and his pure stuff might make him the best option on their staff.

"We're considering contingency plans," general manager Bill Smith said today.

Here's guessing that the contingency plan they choose won't have Liriano pitching the ninth inning. Two reasons, which are related: First, while Liriano has said he'll do whatever the Twins ask, he clearly doesn't want the job; second, the most important thing the Twins can do with Liriano is to keep him healthy, and pitching him on back-to-back days may not be the best way to do that.

"I've never pitched two days in a row, three days in a row," Liriano said after facing the Marlins today. Then, asked again about the closing job, he said, "I'm trying to get myself ready to start."

The Twins are still awaiting a final verdict on Nathan, who told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune today that he intends to try to play catch this Saturday.

It's understandable that they would think of Liriano as an option in the likely event that Nathan needs surgery and can't pitch this year. It seems unlikely they would actually make the move unless they're completely convinced that Liriano could handle it physically and mentally, considering how much work and time they've put in to get him back on the mound.

Since going 12-3 as a rookie in 2006, Liriano has started just 38 games over the last three seasons combined.

Even now, even though he feels good and says "nothing bothers me at all," he's understandably cautious when he describes his health.

Asked today if he feels confident in his arm, Liriano's answer may have said a lot: "So far, yeah."


Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez and Braves manager Bobby Cox meet regularly for coffee during the winter. Gonzalez joked today that during those meetings, he tried to trade for Braves mega-prospect Jason Heyward.

"I wasn't offering enough," Gonzalez said with a laugh. "He wanted Josh Johnson."

But Gonzalez actually has a 20-year-old outfield prospect of his own, and while Mike Stanton doesn't seem to be as advanced as Heyward (and is far less likely to make the opening day roster), he's not that far behind.

Stanton is on the Marlins' travel roster for Tuesday's game at the Disney Complex, against Heyward's Braves.

"That's no coincidence," Gonzalez said. "I'm going to show [Cox] my guy."

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