Jeff Schultz

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Should Braves avoid going 'Braves Way'?


This isn’t meant as any disrespect to the candidates being circulated most in the rumor mill or to outright dismiss John Schuerholz's belief that the Braves need to get back to the, “Braves Way” of doing things.

But would the Braves be better off perhaps doing something the, “Cardinals Way?” Or the “Dodgers Way”? Or the “1927 Yankees Way”?

Yahoo reported that the Braves have offered interim general manager and senior adviser John Hart the general manager’s job that came open with the dismissal of Frank Wren Monday. As David O’Brien reported, and anybody who attended Monday’s news conference can attest, it was clear Schuerholz has a desire for Hart to take the job -- just as it was clear the 66-year-old Hart is enjoying life in his part-time roles with the Braves and MLB Network.

Would the Braves' front office, which includes John Hart, Bobby Cox and John Schuerholz, benefit from a fresh set of eyes? (Curtis Compton/AJC)

When a person gets to be a certain age, money, free time and no responsibility is a wonderful combination. It's wonderful at any age, for that matter.

Here are the two (or three) scenarios being debated most publicly:

• Schuerholz talks Hart into taking the job, if not indefinitely then at least for a brief period – one to two years? – while grooming Braves assistant general manager John Coppolella for the position. Coppolella is young (35) and bright guy. His rare combination of skills – analytics and old-school scouting – and has been trumpeted in recent years by popular baseball statistics websites like Baseball Prospectus and Fangraphs and this week by the AJC's Mark Bradley. Coppolella has worked for the Braves for seven years and prior to that was with the Yankees. Coppolella certainly would take the job if it was offered.

• The Braves lure former assistant GM Dayton Moore back to Atlanta. There is a widespread belief that it actually was Moore, not Wren, who was being groomed to become the Braves’ general manager following Schuerholz’s eventual retirement. But Moore, a Kansas native, took the Kansas City Royals’ job in June of 2005 and Wren was promoted in October of 2007. It's conceivable Moore has a soft spot for the Braves. But right now he’s focused on the Royals closing in on their first postseason berth since 1985. He declined comment Monday on the Braves’ opening. He could have put an end to the speculation by releasing a statement saying he wasn't interested but chose not to do so.

Back to my original question: This isn’t meant as a criticism of Hart, Coppolella or Moore. But would the Braves be better off hiring somebody with a fresh perspective?

When a team promotes from within or hires a person with previous organization ties, there is a greater possibility they are going to step into the job with certain biases and beliefs.

The Braves aren’t a car wreck, recent results notwithstanding. But a case could be made that they need a shakeup, or at least some outside-the-box thinking. Isn't that more likely to occur with a fresh perspective?

What is the outside view of the organization, the personnel and manager Fredi Gonzalez?

Just throwing it out there. What are your thoughts?

 


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About the Author

Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.