On Monday, word began to surface that interim manager Brian Snitker would be the recipient of the full-time role for the Atlanta Braves. Now, that is official, as the team announced the hiring on Tuesday morning.
Snitker, who is 60 years old, took over the reins during the 2016 season following the firing of Fredi Gonzalez, and the Braves sharply improved under his watch. Atlanta produced a 59-65 record with Snitker at the helm and, on the heels of a 9-28 start with Gonzalez, that mark represented progress even with the caveat that the interim manager was dealing with an improved roster.
With the announcement, Braves general manager John Coppolella had the following to say about the decision:
“Brian earned this opportunity through his dedication to the Braves and to our players. We are excited for the energy and momentum he will bring into SunTrust Park next season.”
Still, the Braves thought it wise to perform a managerial search that included the likes of Bud Black and Ron Washington (as well as Eddie Perez, Terry Pendleton and Bo Porter from the current staff) before settling on the man with the closest ties to the situation. Snitker was a favorite of Atlanta’s current roster, as player after player saluted his work on the bench in the interim role and his in-game performance was strong enough to garner the final nod.
In addition to the hiring of Snitker, the Braves also announced various changes on the coaching staff. Former Rangers manager Ron Washington is the new third base coach, former third base coach Bo Porter is now a Special Assistant to the GM and Chuck Hernandez will replace Roger McDowell as Atlanta’s pitching coach.
Brian Snitker has been a member of the Atlanta Braves organization for nearly 40 years, as he has served as a player, manager, coach or instructor at some level since 1977. His next task, though, will be a new one and the organization is placing a great deal of faith in Snitker as the team moves to SunTrust Park with a new mandate of a polishing off the rebuild with true on-field success.