ATLANTA - The Atlanta Braves fired manager Fredi Gonzalez Tuesday after the team’s worst-ever start to a season with the worst record in Major League Baseball.
In a news release issued Tuesday afternoon from Pittsburgh where the Braves are on a road trip, the team announced the firing of Gonzalez and bench coach Carlos Tosca.
The team named Gwinnett Braves manager Brian Snitker as the club’s interim manager, starting tonight against the Pirates.
Gonzalez, 52, was in his sixth season as Braves manager after replacing his mentor and Hall of Fame Manager Bobby Cox, when Cox retired after the 2010 season
The move comes as the Braves are in the middle of a major rebuilding project where the team has traded All-Star players such as outfielders Justin Upton and Jason Heyward and pitchers Craig Kimbrel and Shelby Miller in exchange for highly regarded minor league prospects.
While those moves have turned the Braves’ farm system into one that many consider the best in baseball, it has gutted the major league roster.
At the time of his firing, the Braves are in the National League East cellar with a 9-28 record.
Gonzalez had a 434-413 (.512 winning percentage) regular season record as Atlanta’s manager. The Braves earned a National League Wild Card berth in 2012, and won the N.L. East in 2013. He had a 1-4 post-season record.
He also spent 4 seasons as the team’s third base coach under Cox.
Joining Snitker on the major league staff will be Gwinnett pitching coach Marty Reed as bullpen coach.
The team also announced Terry Pendleton will move from first base coach to bench coach, and Eddie Perez will move from bullpen coach to first base coach.
Snitker has served as a player, coach and Minor League manager in Atlanta's organization dating back to 1977. The 60-year-old Atlanta resident was a member of Atlanta's coaching staff from 2007-13.
The following information comes from the Braves’ news release:
"This season marks Snitker’s 40th as a member of the Braves organization and his third as the manager of the Gwinnett Braves. Snitker joined the organization as a player in 1977 and has served in a variety of roles ever since. He is in his 20th season as a minor-league manager, all with the Braves organization. Snitker has managed at Triple-A Gwinnett (2014-16) and Richmond (2006), Double-A Mississippi (2005) and Greenville (2002-04), High-A Myrtle Beach (1999-2001), Single-A Macon (1992, 1997-98), Durham (1987 and 1983-84), Sumter (1986), Anderson (1982) and Rookie Level Danville (1996). He also served as a coach in the Atlanta farm system, working with Danville in 1993 and 1994 and Durham in 1995.
"In his previous 19 seasons as a manager, he compiled an overall record of 1,282-1,289 (.499). Five of his clubs have advanced to postseason play, and he has won two league championships (back-to-back titles with Myrtle Beach in 1999-2000). He won two league Manager of the Year Awards (also in the Carolina League in 1999-2000). Snitker spent seven seasons as the Major League club’s third base coach, from 2007 to 2013. He also had two stints with the Major League staff as the bullpen coach in 1985 and from 1988 to 1990. He began his coaching career as a roving instructor for the Braves in 1981 and took his first managerial job in 1982 with Anderson of the South Atlantic League. The former catcher played four seasons (1977-80) in the minors before retiring at the conclusion of the 1980 season. Born in Decatur, Ill., Snitker played college baseball at the University of New Orleans.
"Reed is in his eighth season with the Braves organization and was in his sixth season as the Gwinnett pitching coach. He joined the organization in 2009 and spent his first two years (2009-10) as the organization’s Double-A pitching coach.
"Reed spent 10 years (1999-2008) as a coach in the Los Angeles Dodgers farm system and worked as the Dodgers’ minor-league pitching coordinator from 2006 to 2008. He was the pitching coach for Class-A Vero Beach (2000-01 and 2005) and Double-A Jacksonville (2002-04). His professional coaching career began in 1999 with the Dodgers’ rookie-level Great Falls club. He was the head coach of Pfeiffer University (N.C.) from 1996 to 1999 and was a member of the University of Tampa coaching staff for seven seasons (1990-96). Tampa won back-to-back NCAA Division II championships (1992-93).
"Reed was a 1984 California Angels draft selection out of the University of Tampa and he pitched five seasons in the Angels system. The former two-sport athlete played college football at Boston University and was originally drafted in 1982 by the Minnesota Twins. He earned a degree in physical education from the University of Tampa.
"Pendleton, 55, is in his 15th season on the Braves’ coaching staff and this was his sixth as first base coach. He previously served as hitting coach for nine seasons, from 2002 to 2010.
"Perez, 48, is in his 10th season on the Braves’ coaching staff, having served as the bullpen coach the entire time.