The Braves managerial position has been a hot topic this season and with good reason. Many fans clamored for Fredi Gonzalez to be fired following the team’s abysmal start to the season and in the middle of May, they got their wish and long-time member of the Braves organization Brian Snitker was named the interim manager for the remainder of the 2016 season.
Now that the season has ended, the Braves have made multiple moves towards finalizing their search for a permanent manager going into 2017. Here is a quick look at the likely candidates for the job.
Brian Snitker is widely considered to be the frontrunner for the position with multiple beat writers and pundits predicting him getting the gig and with good reason. The Braves looked like a different team under Snitker, in particular in the second half (where they compiled a winning record) and the last month of the season where virtually no team wanted any part of the Braves.
While some don’t necessarily think that Snitker is markedly different as a tactician from his Gonzalez, one big difference appears to be the enthusiastic support of the players with virtually every Brave lauding Snitker for his work with the team and wanting him to return. The players seem to be willing to run through walls for Snitker and it’s hard to argue with the results lately on the field.
The Internal Candidates
The Braves interviewed their four internal mgr. candidates - Snit, Pendleton, Perez and Porter. Pendleton was said to be very impressive— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) October 1, 2016
So far, other than Snitker, the other internal candidates that have been interviewed for the job include Terry Pendleton, Eddie Perez, and Bo Porter. Only Porter has previous managerial experience (with the Astros), but it’s worth noting that Pendleton was noting as being particularly impressive. Many thought TP was the favorite to get the interim tag before Snitker was named. While the players love Snitker, it’s hard to think that they wouldn’t be thrilled that any of these guys, in particular Perez and Pendleton who are long-time Braves guys, got a shot in 2017. However, there is also this:
Hart acknowledged it would be hard to hire TP, Eddie or Porter given what Snit did as the manager over the past couple months.— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) October 3, 2016
This is hard to argue with...if the Braves liked any of the internal candidates more than they liked Snitker, they probably would have given them the interim tag in the first place. One does wonder if interviewing some of these guys is the Braves way of giving them legitimacy as they look into opportunities with other clubs.
The External Candidates
The Braves will interview Ron Washington and Bud Black this week.— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) October 3, 2016
Reports started coming out today that Bud Black and Ron Washington will be interviewed this week for the position. Coppy and the front office have been clear throughout that they were going to look at external candidates for the position and these are the first two names to get concrete, public interest from the Braves.
Other names that will get consideration include the Red Sox Torey Lovullo, former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, Royals bench coach Don Wakamatsu, and potentially former Rockies manager Walt Weiss. Lovullo, in particular, has garnered a lot of interest from teams looking to fill vacancies.
In the next week or two, we will hear lots of names and speculation about the managerial position, especially as teams let go of guys and fill their own vacancies. We will keep you posted as the search continues.