Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that Brian Snitker is likely to remain the Braves manager.
Snitker’s contract expired at the end of the season, but the Braves are going to give him another year. It’s a questionable call, coming at an awkward time for Atlanta, given that their front office blew up in scandal yesterday with the resignation of GM John Coppolella and his lieutenant, Gordon Blakeley. John Hart is the acting GM, but he is unlikely to be in control once the 2018 season starts, meaning that the team’s new general manager, whoever that is, will likely be stuck with a manager he may not have chosen. Of course, it’s unclear when the team will have a permanent GM in place, which could, in turn, leave the team without a manager for some time if Snitker wasn’t re-upped. There were no great options here.
Whatever you think of that, it’s not at all clear that Snitker has earned another year at the helm. While he is a well-respected organizational guy for the Braves, and has been for decades, he did not exactly show the world that he is the guy to take the Braves to the next level. Indeed, at times he seemed to be an obstacle to the development of the Braves young players. He is popular among Braves veterans, who have lobbied for him to stay, but many of those guys will not be a part of the next good Braves team. But I suppose when you have no one in charge at the top, the guys at the bottom get to have a larger say.
The only thing that seems certain here is that the Braves brass, whoever that is, now has a built-in excuse for the team to underperform for another season. After a slow offseason, they can say “hey, our front office blew up so we couldn’t be as active as we liked.” After a slow start in 2018, they can fire Snitker, replace him with someone else and say “hey, we thought he was right for the job, but he wasn’t, but now we have the right guy in place.” Then, as the season ends with 90+ losses again, they can say “really, the idea was to contend in 2020 all along . . . ”
Whatever. I’m tuning them out for the next couple of days because there are Wild Card games to watch featuring teams competing that lost 103, 93 and 87 games in 2016, putting lie to the notion that you can’t get good more quickly than the Braves seem to be taking. One of those teams has a manager — Bud Black — the Braves passed up before giving the job to Snitker last year. Funny how that all works.