Brian Snitker to continue as Braves manager


Brian Snitker will continue as Braves manager after the team decided to pick up the 2018 option on his contract, a person familiar with the situation said Wednesday.

Coaching-staff decisions are still being discussed, and it’s unclear if there will be changes to Snitker’s staff. An announcement regarding the manager is expected later in the week.

In Snitker’s first full season as manager in 2017, the Braves finished 72-90, the third consecutive season with at least 90 losses for the Braves, a former perennial contender still in a multi-year rebuilding project. 

Within the organization, it was expected they would be better by now, but there were extenuating circumstances, including injuries and midseason trades, and Snitker continues to have strong support from players, including vocal veterans.

“I know (the players) want everybody back” on the coaching staff, catcher Kurt Suzuki said after Sunday’s season finale. “I think I can speak for a lot of the guys. Especially Snit -- I mean, the guy’s done everything he can with what he was dealt with. I thought he did a fantastic job. I’ve played for a few managers now, and he’s definitely a good one. 

“I think a lot of players would benefit from the whole staff coming back, but it’s out of our control. There’s nothing we can do, we’ve just got to see what happens.”

Schultz: Last thing Braves need is another firing

Bradley: Keeping Snitker not great move but maybe right move

The Braves had a 45-45 record through July 16 despite slugger Freddie Freeman missing seven weeks in that period with a fractured wrist. But after putting themselves in the wild-card picture at the 90-game mark, the Braves spiraled to a National League-worst 27-45 record the rest of the way, and had a six-game losing streak in the last week of the season before winning the season finale.

“It’s a tale of two seasons, really,” Freeman said Sunday. “We had a good first 90 games, and the last 72 weren’t what we wanted. We saw a lot of guys sprinkle into our clubhouse and into our lineup that are going to be part of the future and go their feet wet. I’m kind of getting tired of saying ‘feet wet,’ so hopefully in 2018 we’re actually playing meaningful games right now.”

Snitker, who’ll turn 62 on Oct. 17, has a 126-146 record as Braves manager since he was promoted from Triple-A manager after Fredi Gonzalez was fired May 17, 2016.

Snitker was named interim manager, took over a moribund 9-28 team and led a dramatic midseason turnaround in his first time managing in the major leagues, guiding the Braves to a 59-65 record over the remainder of the 2016 season including 50-47 after his first four weeks on the job. 

The Braves closed the 2016 season winning 20 of their final 30 games and five consecutive series, and Snitker had the interim label removed from his title Oct. 11, 2016. He was hired then as full-time manager over a field of candidates that included veteran managers Bud Black and Ron Washington and three members of the Braves coaching staff – Terry Pendleton, Eddie Perez and Bo Porter. 

Washington was hired as third-base coach at that time, supplanting Porter, who was bumped to the front office.

The Braves’ late-season struggles in 2017 season led to speculation that Snitker’s option would be declined and that Washington would be promoted from third-base coach to take over as manager. But Snitker continued to have the vocal support of players and some key front-office officials.

The sudden resignation of general manager John Coppolella on Monday amid a Major League Baseball investigation focused primarily on alleged rule-breaking by the GM and a top assistant in the international free-agent market, might have been a tipping point in deciding to pick up Snitker’s option. The move could allow an incoming general manager to make his own managerial hire beyond the 2018 season.

The Braves haven’t set a timetable for hiring a general manager, but Royals GM Dayton Moore, a former Braves assistant GM under Hall of Famer John Schuerholz, is considered the leading candidate. It’s uncertain if he would return unless he has full control of baseball operations. For now John Hart continues as president of baseball operations and has indicated he’ll stay for 2018, though the team has not announced he’s returning.

It’s unclear if MLB’s investigation could eventually lead to issues with Braves officials other than the two who were already forced to resign, Coppolella and special assistant/international scouting supervisor Gordon Blakeley.

If Moore doesn’t take the job, other candidates are expected to include Marlins GM and manager Dan Jennings, currently serving as a Nationals special assistant. 


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Atlanta Braves

Who are the 13 international players forfeited by Atlanta Braves
Who are the 13 international players forfeited by Atlanta Braves

As part of baseball’s sanctions on the Atlanta Braves for major infractions committed in the international free-agent market, the team will lose 13 prospects. The following players were ruled free agents and eligible to sign with any of the other 29 franchises: • Infielder Kevin Maitan • Catcher Abrahan Gutierrez • Infielder Yunior...
MLB drops hammer on Braves following lengthy investigation
MLB drops hammer on Braves following lengthy investigation

Major League Baseball dealt unprecedented punishment on the Braves, including a lifetime ban on former general manager John Coppolella, in a lengthy list of sanctions handed down Tuesday for rules violations in the international free-agent market.  The Braves have been the subject of an extensive investigation since it was announced that Coppolella...
Breaking: Coppolella banned for life as part of MLB’s sanctions against Braves
Breaking: Coppolella banned for life as part of MLB’s sanctions against Braves

Former Braves general manager John Coppolella has been banned for life by Major League Baseball as part of discipline handed down by the league Tuesday for major infractions committed in the international free-agent market. In addition, special assistant Gordon Blakeley has been suspended for one year. In handing down the punishment, the league announced...
Braves add two ex-Dodger relievers, reach 40-man limit
Braves add two ex-Dodger relievers, reach 40-man limit

For the second time on Monday night, the Braves scooped up a piece from the Dodgers bullpen. Atlanta acquired right-hander Josh Ravin from the Dodgers for cash considerations, bringing its roster to the 40-man limit. Eligible players needed to be added to the 40-man roster or they could be subject to the Rule 5 draft on Dec. 14. The Braves added former...
Braves claim LHP Grant Dayton from Dodgers
Braves claim LHP Grant Dayton from Dodgers

New Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos’ first addition is one of his former Dodgers. The Braves claimed left-handed reliever Grant Dayton off waivers on Monday. The team also selected the contracts of left-handers Adam McCreery and Ricardo Sanchez, bringing it to 39 players on the 40-man roster at the deadline to protect players from the...
More Stories