I've weighed in on the Braves and the three biggest issues facing the team going into the offseason, the most important being the need for starting pitching (which wasn't supposed to happen).
Here's a link to that column.
But the hot topic right now is whether the team will keep interim manager Brian Snitker in the job, hire another internal candidate or bring in somebody new from outside the organization. So I figured I would give readers a chance to vote for one of six potential candidates, as well as share some of my thoughts on each:
• Bud Black: Many locked onto Black's candidacy as soon as he was fired in San Diego in June of 2015 after 8½ seasons. Black played part of his career with Cleveland and developed a relationship with John Hart, who was in charge of the Indians at the time and now is the Braves' president of baseball operations (and general manager John Coppolella's boss). He has won two World Series, one as a pitcher with Kansas City (1985) and one as the pitching coach for the Los Angeles Angels (2002). The Braves would try to sell Black as a smart pitching guy and therefore the perfect hire for an organization with young pitchers. But as a manager, Black had only two winning seasons with no postseason appearances in nine years with the Padres (he was fired in the ninth). His career record: 649-713 (.477 ). Obviously won-loss records have a lot to do with talent and chemistry but can the Braves sell that? For what it's worth, ESPN's Jim Bowden lists Black as the "front runner" for the job. I'm inclined to agree.
• Brian Snitker: He went 59-65 as an interim manager, including 12-2 in the last 14 games. Is that good enough to sell the Braves that they should keep this as an inside hire? Not sure. Snitker was great, given the situation he stepped into but I believe Hart and Coppolella have been leaning toward bringing in somebody from the outside. Snitker made the decision more difficult but I'm not sure the late-season results have changed their mind.
• Terry Pendleton: He was always my pick from the coaching staff. Pendleton ranks as one of the greatest leaders and most respected players the Braves have ever had and would manage with the same fire that enabled the Braves to go from worst-to-first in 1991, when he was the National League's MVP. But Snitker's success may have eliminated any chance of the Braves giving the job to another internal candidate because it would be difficult to justify publicly.
• Eddie Perez: Many view Perez as a potential manager somewhere. He's a smart baseball man and knows pitchers. But I doubt he gets the job for the same reason Pendleton doesn't. The Braves haven't said anything about retaining Pendleton or Perez if a manager from the outside is hired, and it's conceivable neither would want to stay. Snitker is in a little different situation and at worst could return to being a minor league manager or kept as a coach.
• Ron Washington: It's a little surprising the Braves are interviewing him. That's not taking anything away from Washington as a manager -- he had four 90-plus win seasons and went to two World Series in Texas -- but he comes with a lot of personal baggage and he's 64 years old. This might be nothing more than a courtesy interview.
• Mark DeRosa: There have been no recent rumors of DeRosa's candidacy but the former player and current MLB Network analyst is held in high regard by the organization and was listed as a potential candidate shortly after Fredi Gonzalez's firing by multiple media outlets, including MLB.com's Mark Bowman. But this would be a pretty outside-the-box hire by an organization that doesn't generally make such moves and the Braves' brass seemed to make it clear Monday that they would not hire a "first-time manager." Given DeRosa has never even coached, I think he qualifies as a first-timer.
Some recent ramblings
- Positive vibes about rebuild aside, Braves still need starting pitching
- View in NFC South isn't what most expected: Falcons on top
- It's early but Falcons are looking legit
- Will optics of Mark Richt (4-0) vs. Kirby Smart (3-2) get better for Georgia?
- Mark Richt makes his return and looks right at home again at Georgia Tech
- Best Braves memory at Turner Field: 2010 and Bobby Cox's final season
- Weekend Predictions: And now for something completely different -- Dogs win
- Falcons' Deion Jones runs for glory, not survival, in return home
- Falcons create a new memory for themselves in New Orleans
- Falcons can't create more happy memories for Saints
- LSU just fired Les Miles -- this is what lunacy looks like
- New Georgia looks a lot like the old Georgia
- Jacob Eason wasn't good but this isn't time to blame quarterback
- Weekend Predictions: NCAA over Ole Miss but Ole Miss over Dogs
- Credit Georgia Tech for going after the right choice in Stansbury
- Overreaction Monday: Everybody wins! What can possibly go wrong?
- Falcons' 35 points, 528 yards should quiet criticism of Shanahan
- Falcons put on an offense show -- and, yes, win
- Falcons try to avoid going from 0-1 to off the rails
- Weekend Predictions: Dogs rebound, Jackets win, Falcons fall
- Coppollella acknowledges on Twitter starters have been disappointing
- Politicians need to understand: Sports has a hammer -- get used to it
- Overreaction Monday: Red zone, tackling and can anybody run block?
- As season opens, it's Mike Smith 1, Falcons 0
- Georgia exposed by opponent it should've easily handled
- Smart's limited media access accomplishing nothing
- Weekend Predictions: Falcons over their exes; Dogs, Jackets cover
- Mets sign Tebow but he looks more like 'Sideshow Tim' than player
- If Braves sign Tebow, it's about circus and revenue, not baseball