Braves exercise option on manager Gonzalez

Frank Wren might be doing some holiday shopping in Nashville, but he made sure to take care of his team’s leader in the meantime.

The Atlanta Braves’ executive vice president and general manager announced Wednesday afternoon that the team exercised its one-year club option on manager Fredi Gonzalez. Gonzalez, who was also in Nashville at this week’s winter meetings, is now signed through the 2014 season.

“Fredi did a terrific job of leading our team back to the playoffs in 2012,” Wren said. “We feel with his leadership our team will continue to challenge for championships in the future.” 

Gonzalez boasts a 183-141 record (.565) in his two seasons since taking over for World Series-winning manager Bobby Cox. Including a four-season stint with the Marlins from 2007-10, he’s accounted for 459 career wins.

Gonzalez’s time with Atlanta has not been paved in gold. In his first season, the Braves fell out of the playoff picture on the last day of the regular season following a historic September collapse. The team finished 89-73. In 2012, Gonzalez guided the Braves into baseball’s new one-game wildcard format for the playoffs, losing to the Cardinals 6-3 — an outcome that still conjures up dissent concerning a controversial infield fly call. 

The Braves are still searching for their first division title under Gonzalez; they’ve finished second in the National League East race twice. 

Of course, finding a left fielder that can hit leadoff will make that task a little easier in 2013.

With his manager now locked in for two more seasons, Wren can now get back to his outfield bargain hunting.