According to reports from Bob Nightengale of USA Today and Mark Bowman of MLB.com, the Atlanta Braves have discussed the possibility of dismissing manager Fredi Gonzalez. However, a baseball source tells ESPN's Jerry Crasnick that no changes are imminent.
The Braves are off to a horrific 7-20 start this season, although expectations were low after the team finished 67-95 last year and traded away some of its best players this offseason.
Gonzalez, who has managed the team since 2011, had his contract extended through 2016 last year and was expected to lead the team through its rebuilding process, but a nine-game losing streak to start the year followed by an eight-game losing streak after four straight wins might be responsible for putting his job in question.
First baseman Freddie Freeman offered his support for his manager, per Bowman:
"I think everything is getting magnified since we're off to this start," Freeman said. "I don't know if it's fair to put it all on [Gonzalez] because he's not a player. We're the 25 guys [who have to] go out there and play every day. We're obviously not playing to our capabilities. To say that's Fredi's fault is unfair in my opinion.
"[Gonzalez] is out there doing his best every single day, just like we are are," Freeman added. "He's not the one hitting the balls, pitching the balls or catching the balls."
If the Braves do dismiss Gonzalez -- which wouldn't happen as soon as this weekend, per Crasnick's source -- Bowman writes that bullpen coach Eddie Perez "would likely be given the job" and get the chance to prove himself as the man to lead the team's upcoming wave of young talent. Meanwhile, Nightengale speculates that former San Diego Padres manager Bud Black would be the favorite if Atlanta looks to make a permanent hire.