With a 9-28 record, the Atlanta Braves have decided to part ways with manager Fredi Gonzalez. It is common practice in sports to relieve a manager of his duties if a team is struggling, but this instance just doesn't feel right.
The lowly Braves have just 11 homeruns through 37 games, and their team slugging percentage is only 4 points higher than the Red Sox team batting average. However, I find it hard to put either of those stats on the manager's shoulders. The Braves roster probably wouldn't even be a first place team if they were relegated to Triple A, and even the best manager in the league would struggle to win with this bad roster.
Whenever theres is a mangerial spot made available, there is a lot of talk among fans about who his replacement will be. This time around, that talk involves the Red Sox and assistant manager Torey Lovullo.
Lovullo has been with the Red Sox since 2013, serving as the assistant to John Farrell, although many would argue that those two positions should be reversed. Red Sox fans everywhere remember when Farrell left on medical leave and Lovullo took over, leading the Sox to a 28-21 record. Now that Gonzalez has been fired in Atlanta, Lovullo is a candidate on the list for his replacement.
As demonstrated last year, Lovullo is very capable of managing a team, ending the 2015 season with a .571 winning percentage. Many people wanted Lovullo to take Farrell's job this season, and the talk around Boston is how long Farrell can hang on before Lovullo steps in. His contracts stated that he was not able to interview for a position before the season started, but now that we're underway, he is available to talk to other teams. Now that a spot is open, the question now is whether Lovullo would leave Boston for a promotion in Atlanta.
Lovullo has never been the manager of a big league team, aside from the interim position last year. If you are him, Atlanta is not a place that you want to kick off your managerial career. The roster is awful and you have remotely no chance of succeeding this year or the next few years. With the Braves trading off every good player in the last few years, it will be at least a 5 year rebuilding process, which will take a lot of patience.
Since Lovullo's name is being thrown around in these rumors, what does this mean for the Red Sox? Although they are 10 games above .500 and tied for first, a good amount of fans are still calling for Farrell's job. Since they have Lovullo already with the team, they can avoid the process of having to fill the manager spot. However, if Lovullo signs with another team, the thought process surrounding the manager becomes a bit different.
Do the Red Sox fire Farrell as a first place manager, just to promote Lovullo? Do they let Lovullo walk, or is Lovullo not even considering the position? One thing remains certain, if Farrell starts to manage this team as badly as last season, and they don't have Lovullo to fall back on, this first place season could go south very quickly.
By Matt Watts