The Braves announced today that they’ve extended the contract of manager Fredi Gonzalez through the 2016 season. Gonzalez’s new contract contains a club option for 2017, and the entire coaching staff has been extended through 2016 as well.
In four and a half seasons as the Braves’ manager, Gonzalez has compiled a 400-337 record, although the 2015 season has been a difficult one to date. That, however, shouldn’t come as a total shock considering the fact that Atlanta traded away Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, Craig Kimbrel, Evan Gattis, Jordan Walden and David Carpenter this offseason as the team shifted its focus toward the future. His detractors, though, will point not only to the club’s losing ways in 2015 but a late collapse in 2014 after spending a total of 94 days in first place. (Atlanta went 27-40 in the season’s second half.)
While Gonzalez is a polarizing figure among Braves fans, he’s long appeared to be in good standings with Atlanta’s top decision-makers, and an overhaul in the Braves’ front office this past offseason appears to have done little to change that. The new contract gives Gonzalez and his staff further time to work a new, younger core that has seen the likes of Shelby Miller, Mike Foltynewicz, Matt Wisler, Jace Peterson and others added to previous stalwarts such as Freddie Freeman and Andrelton Simmons.
As the Braves note in the press release announcing the move, this extension for the coaching staff ensures that Terry Pendleton will be back for an 15th season as first base coach, Roger McDowell return for an 11th year as pitching coach, Eddie Perez will return for a 10th year as bullpen coach and Carlos Tosca will be back for a sixth season as bench coach. First-year coaches Bo Porter (third base), Kevin Seitzer (hitting) and Jose Castro (assistant hitting) will all return for second seasons.