Bobby Cox will retire as manager of the Atlanta Braves at the end of the 2010 season.
There has been much speculation in recent days about Cox’s future with the team, and today he finally went public with his decision.
The iconic Braves manager inked a one-year extension with Atlanta, ensuring he will remain in his current role with the club for the 2010 season before relinquishing his managerial duties.
At the conclusion of the 2010 season, Cox will step aside and begin the first year in a five-year consulting agreement where he will serve in an advisory role with the Braves.
Reports have surfaced as of late that the relationship between Cox and Braves general manager Frank Wren has been strained.
Gordon Edes of Yahoo! Sports reported that Cox was so upset with Wren for not being included in personnel talks and at the way John Smoltz’s departure from the team was handled this spring that he threatened to leave spring training before being talked out of it by a fellow coach.
Wren and Cox have both since denied the report, while Edes is sticking by his claims.
Whether there is any truth stemming from this report or not, it has gotten the baseball world buzzing that if indeed there was friction between the Braves GM and manager, Cox might decide to call it quits after this season.
That has not proven to be the case with today’s announcement, which I am sure both Wren and Cox are hoping will quell talk of a feud between them.
Cox, 68, will go down in history as one of baseball’s most esteemed and accomplished managers.
He has been a part of the Atlanta Braves organization for nearly 30 years. His tenure with Atlanta began in 1978 before he left to manage the Toronto Blue Jays in 1982. He later re-joined the Braves in 1985, where he served as general manager of the club until 1990, when he moved back into the dugout to resume his role as the team’s skipper.
While serving as GM, Cox was instrumental in the drafting of Atlanta’s legendary third baseman Chipper Jones with the first overall pick in the 1990 draft. Cox is the only manager Jones has ever played for, and the two have forged quite a strong bond over the years.
When Cox started his second run as Braves manager, he helped lead the team to an unprecedented 14 consecutive division titles, five National League pennants, and a World Championship in 1995.
Cox has won the Manager of the Year Award four times (1985, 1991, 2004, and 2005) and is one of only four managers to have won the prestigious award in both the National and American League.
He is also the winningest manager in franchise history, and his 2,408 career wins currently rank him fourth on baseball’s all-time managerial wins list and second among active managers.
Finding Cox’s replacement will be a daunting task for the Braves, but having the luxury of time will surely help the team ease the players and fans into the transition.
While the future of the Atlanta Braves remains up in the air, one thing is certain: The Braves’ beloved manager hopes to go out on a high note.
Atlanta has rebounded from a 90-loss season in 2008 and has put itself in the thick of the National League Wild Card race with only a few weeks left to play.
The Braves find themselves only five games back of the Wild Card-leading Rockies, but they are no longer in control of their own fate. They will need to pretty much run the table from here on out and hope for a Colorado collapse if they are to make it into the postseason.
While that scenario remains unlikely, the Braves’ surprising turnaround is sure to have been a strong factor in Cox’s decision to return.
The affable player’s manager is sure to have his troops playing hard for him in 2010 in an effort to get Cox back to the playoffs and give him the chance at one more taste of championship glory.