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Fredi Gonzalez wasted the Braves' prime years

Gonzalez's firing was not just about 2016.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The national perception of Fredi Gonzalez being fired will be, "Hey, that's not fair! He had a terrible roster to work with!" And that is, for the most part, true. No one could win with this roster.

But anyone who followed the Braves the last five years should know this firing is not about a poor start in 2016, but for years of piss-poor management of a roster loaded with talent.

Fredi had the prime years of Jason Heyward, Justin Upton and Craig Kimbrel. He had Freddie Freeman. He had an All-Universe defensive shortstop in Andrelton Simmons. He had really good years of Martin PradoEvan Gattis and Michael Bourn. He had Tim Hudson, he had a blossoming Julio Teheran, Kris Medlen and Mike Minor, and he had the game's best bullpen with Kimbrel, Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty.

Gonzalez oversaw one of the worst collapses in baseball history in 2011. An 8.5 game lead in September vanished. No real changes were made.

There was Jose Constanza over Jason Heyward for weeks.

There was constant misuse of bullpen arms. The lineup was poorly constructed more times than not, often hitting the team's worst hitters in the most important spots. Players' platoon splits were seldom utilized properly.

There was this in the playoffs:

The Braves are 34-81 since starting last season 42-42. They won one playoff game in 5+ seasons with Gonzalez at the helm. They lost the inaugural Wild Card Game in 2012.

It was time for a change with big money to spend and a plethora of young talents making their way to Cobb County. Did you really want Fredi overseeing the development of Dansby Swanson, Ozhaino Albies and the 177 pitching prospects the club currently owns?

The next manager will be determined sometime in the next six months. The Braves really need to make a good decision here, not one based on who Bobby Cox and John Schuerholz like to smoke cigars with in the offseason. The rebuild has gone well to this point; now it's time to find the right person to lead the Braves.

Fredi Gonzalez, clearly, was not that person.

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