The Braves have an excellent coaching staff at the major league level in 2019. Among the coaching staff are two former managers, Ron Washington and Walt Weiss, who could certainly receive inquiries this offseason regarding their interest in taking the helm once again. Replacing either of these brilliant baseball minds would be a challenge, but it could soon become a reality. Will Washington, Weiss, or others find an opportunity to manage in 2020?
For as much as he feels like a mainstay in the Braves organization, Ron Washington is finishing just his third season with the Atlanta coaching staff. His infectious personality and youthful exuberance have been a revelation not only as third base coach, but as infield instructor. Washington has been especially prevalent in the development of Ozzie Albies as a premier defensive second baseman. Those abilities have endeared Washington to not only the players, but to the entire organization, as it shows that player development does not stagnate upon promotion to the major leagues.
In addition to his significant contributions as a member of the Braves coaching staff, Washington has a decorated managerial career from his time with the Texas Rangers. In eight seasons, Washington guided the Rangers to back-to-back World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011, and four consecutive 90-win seasons from 2010 to 2013. Unfortunately for Washington and the Rangers, battles with addiction led to the two sides parting ways near the end of the 2014 season. With a winning track record, a gift for teaching, and prolonged sobriety, Washington may well find himself fielding job offers this offseason.
Atlanta bench coach Walt Weiss, who served as manager of the Colorado Rockies from 2013 to 2016, has been a welcome addition to the Braves coaching staff, much like Washington. While his .437 win percentage as manager may not jump off the page, Weiss has been a steadying presence at each stop by all accounts. His current post, alongside Brian Snitker, may carry less responsibility, but allows for the same amount of day-to-day interaction with players. Weiss will likely draw some interest this offseason from clubs looking to fill a managerial void, and would be difficult to replace on the Atlanta staff.
Along with the two most obvious candidates, the Braves could certainly see teams approach other members of the coaching staff such as hitting coach Kevin Seitzer, pitching coach Rick Kranitz, and first base coach Eric Young. Each fills a significant role in Atlanta, and could conceivably be called upon to fill a vacancy elsewhere in the right situation.
The Braves have been an exciting team to watch, to cover, and to follow in each of the past two seasons, and the coaching staff deserves much of the credit for the club’s success. With so many young players immediately producing at the major league level, the Atlanta coaching staff is an easy one to admire given their propensity for aiding in player development. Losing key members of the staff would sting, but seeing them move on to better opportunities would be heartening. Ron Washington, in particular, deserves another shot to manage and has certainly proven his worth over the past three seasons with Atlanta. Change is never easy, but for a club that has found such success over the past two seasons, it is likely coming in some form.