Wasting no time after yesterday’s report that they had narrowed the field down to three candidates, the Braves have decided to make interim manager Brian Snitker’s position permanent:
As expected, #Braves made if official: Snitker is their full-time manager.— David O'Brien (@DOBrienAJC) October 11, 2016
Snitker beat out a revered pool of potential skippers that included former Padres manager Bud Black, and former Rangers boss Ron Washington.
O’Brien reports that “Snitker had the overwhelming support of Braves players, many of whom openly lobbied for him.” Also, the Braves are elevating minor league pitching coordinator Chuck Hernandez to pitching coach and have hired Washington to be Snitker’s third base coach.
Snitker, a catcher, was drafted out of the University of New Orleans by the Cubs in 1976, but chose not to sign. The next year, he joined up with the Braves. The Braves didn’t think much of him as a player; Snitker topped out at six games for AAA Richmond in 1978 and his career ended in 1980. But Atlanta kept him on as a coach and in 1982, he was promoted to manage the Anderson Braves in the SALLY League at the age of 26.
Snitker gradually worked his way through the Braves organization as a manger and instructor, and was named the big league’s club’s third base coach in 2013. He went back to Gwinnett to manage in 2014 and 2015 and was elevated to interim manager after Fredi Gonzalez’s club started 9-28. Snitker had them playing well the rest of the way, as the club finished out the year at 59-65, including 37-35 after the All Star Break. Plus, he’s well-known and well-regarded by virtually every young player who came up through the Braves minor league system in the last few years.
The catch is that Snitker will have a one year deal with a club option for 2018. With Ron Washington coming on as his third base coach, it could be a matter of time before Snitker is thanked for his service and the former Rangers skipper is handed the reins. That sounds...awkward. Even so, it remains a great reward for a loyal organizational guy to get a chance to manage at the major league level. And given that the 60 year old outperformed expectations, he certainly deserved the chance to stick around and do it again.