It was reported today that the Atlanta Braves plan to interview former major league managers Bud Black and Ron Washington for their managerial opening.
Or, should I say, “opening.” There is technically one, as Brian Snitker was named the interim manager after taking over for the fired Fredi Gonzalez back in May. But he went a long way toward making himself a strong candidate after finishing strong, going a 50-50 over their final 100 games, and showing a marked improvement in all facets of the game. They were 9-28 when Snitker took over. Team president John Hart and general manager John Coppolella both said today that Snitker is in the running to keep his job. Indeed, Snitker was at the media session today when they said it. If he wasn’t being seriously considered, he wouldn’t be there.
That said, Black and Washington are two strong candidates and are worth checking in on. Each have had great success at the helm of the Padres and Rangers, respectively, with Black being credited for doing far more with what he was given than many thought he should’ve done and Washington, obviously, winning two pennants with the Rangers. Each would be good choices for the Braves who have, for almost 30 years, have more or less had the same managerial philosophy by virtue of Bobby Cox’ long tenure followed by two men in Gonzalez and Snitker who came to prominence under Cox’s wing.
Still, I predict that Snitker will get the job on a permanent basis following the interviews. His success this year was undeniable and he deserves a chance to take this team to spring training and into a full season. I suspect that his leash may be a bit shorter than a lot of managers’ leashes might be and that, eventually, when the Braves are closer to playoff contention, they will make a move for a manager with more high-level experience. Based on Snitker’s comments today, if and when that were to happen, he would happily return to another role in the organization.
In the meantime, there is no downside to giving Snitker the job based on the good job he has done.