When Fredi Gonzalez was fired by the Braves back in May they named Brian Snitker the interim manager. He is basically the prototypical interim manager too: longtime organizational man, having spent decades doing basically anything ever asked of him at every level and doing it competently. Given that profile and the Braves move into a new ballpark next year, it seemed inevitable that Snitker would manage the rest of 2016 and them move back into organizational man mode next year, while some more famous name was hired to lead the Braves back to competitiveness.
“Yeah,” [Snitker] said, when asked before Tuesday’s series finale against the Mets if he’d like a shot at the permanent managerial job. “Driving around, it’s like, you know what, I’d like a crack at this. To see. What the hell. I’ve been here (four months) doing it. If that’s the route that’s chosen, then I’ll be ready. If not, then I guess I’ll do whatever.”
And the Braves may be receptive to the idea:
Told that Snit had said publicly he’d like to keep the job, Braves general manager John Coppolella didn’t hesitiate to praise his performance, as he has repeatedly. This time, he also addressed his chances of keeping the job. “Snit has been terrific,” Coppolella said. “We have said from the start we would interview some candidates from outside the organization and we will follow through on that promise. However, we love what Brian has done and it’s only enhanced his candidacy.”
He has done a good job. The Braves are a respectable (for them) 51-63 since he took over and they’ve played .500 ball for the past two months. No one has phoned it in like they might be expected to given the situation and many players have shown improvement as the season has gone on.
Which is not to say that Snitker has earned the job or should be the guy the Braves choose to take over. In some ways Snitker is yet the further continuation of the Bobby Cox regime, as both he and Fredi Gonzalez are Cox disciples. No matter how great a manager Cox was, there is something to be said for going in a different direction as an organization rather than continuing to go with leadership and a leadership style that has been in place for over a quarter of a century. No matter how well Snitker has done, it would be understandable and, in some ways, appealing for the Braves to think differently about leadership style for once.
Still, Snitker has made it interesting. And, if the Braves are gonna stick with what amounts to, more or less, a Bobby Cox dynasty, Snitker seems to be a better guy to lead it than Gonzalez was.