At least one of Fredi Gonzalez’s former employers stood behind him Wednesday.
Braves manager Bobby Cox used his pregame media session in Chicago to rip Florida owner Jeffrey Loria for firing Gonzalez, who was a coach for four years under Cox before taking the Marlins’ job.
"They’ve gone down to the end [contending for the playoffs] every year, playing their [butts] off," Cox told reporters, per The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "[Loria] doesn’t appreciate anything. He’s one of those guys that thinks you change [just for the sake of change]. He’s always wanting to fire the coaches. Always. That’s his history. He lost a good one there."
Gonzalez, 46, has long been considered a possible successor to Cox, who is retiring after this season. The speculation is only expected to increase now that Gonzalez is available, though Gonzalez still has a year remaining on his Florida contract, the AJC reported. Gonzalez still has a home in the Atlanta area.
"As I have said from the beginning of the season, we won’t comment on the manager situation till after Bobby has managed his last game with us," Braves general manager Frank Wren told the AJC in an e-mail Wednesday. "As it pertains to Fredi Gonzalez, in light of what happened this morning, we all have high regard for Fredi but we won’t have any further comment."
Braves third baseman Chipper Jones, who might follow Cox into retirement this year, is a Gonzalez booster.
"I think everybody in here would love to have Fredi back," Jones said. "He coached third base here for a few years, learned a lot from Bobby. He knows how things work around here. All the guys love him. I think he’d be a great fit. In what capacity, that remains to be seen. But some puzzle pieces would certainly fit [if Gonzalez was hired]."