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Braves manager Brian Snitker almost quit due to sour relationship with John Coppolella

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Ahead of Thursday’s NLDS opener between the Braves and Dodgers, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman has a detailed report about Braves manager Brian Snitker. Bowman describes Snitker as having seriously considered quitting his job as manager of the Braves because he didn’t get along well with then-GM John Coppolella. A little over a year ago, Coppolella criticized Snitker for leaving Matt Kemp in to pinch-hit instead of bringing in Matt Adams after the Marlins called on right-handed reliever Brad Ziegler. Snitker wasn’t happy with the criticism.

According to Bowman, Snitker — in Florida for the final series of the 2017 regular season — called a clubbie in Atlanta and said, “Pack my things, I’m not coming back.” On October 2, after the 2017 regular season concluded, Coppolella resigned for his role in the Braves’ international signing rules violations. Snitker stayed on board and developed a good relationship with new GM Alex Anthopoulos. The Braves went 90-72 this season and reached the playoffs for the first time since 2013.

Snitker has some backers in the clubhouse, for sure. Freddie Freeman said, “You could see how it ate at [Snitker] as the year and a half went by. I’m just happy he’s still here. He didn’t deserve to go anywhere else. He deserved to have this job. Things happen for a reason, and I’m glad they did.”

Anthopoulos said, “He’s an easy guy to play for as a player, and I mean that as a compliment. Who is ever going to complain about playing for Snit? He’s fair and he’s honest. No matter what manager you have, there are going to be times that fans are going to agree and disagree with moves. But that player part starts first. If they’re not buying into you, you don’t have a shot.”

Snitker took over as interim manager of the Braves in 2016 once Fredi Gonzalez was fired following a disastrous 9-28 start. The club went 59-65 the rest of the way, then went 72-90 before a turnaround this season. The Braves’ minor league system has been ranked among the best in baseball, but the club wasn’t expected to be as competitive as they were this season. The fact that they are so far ahead of schedule may have something to do with Snitker. It’s impossible to quantify, but there are certainly some people in the Braves organization who will vouch for that.

MLBPA: MLB’s ‘demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected’

Rob Manfred and Tony Clark
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On Thursday evening, the Major League Baseball Players Association released a statement regarding ongoing negotiations between the owners and the union. The two sides continue to hash out details concerning a 2020 season. The owners want a shorter season, around 50 games. The union recently proposed a 114-game season that also offered the possibility of salary deferrals.

MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said that the union held a conference call that included the Executive Board and MLBPA player leaders. They “resoundingly rejected” the league’s “demand for additional concessions.”

The full statement:

In this time of unprecedented suffering at home and abroad, Players want nothing more than to get back to work and provide baseball fans with the game we all love. But we cannot do this alone.

Earlier this week, Major League Baseball communicated its intention to schedule a dramatically shortened 2020 season unless Players negotiate salary concessions. The concessions being sought are in addition to billions in Player salary reductions that have already been agreed upon.

This threat came in response to an Association proposal aimed at charting a path forward. Among other things, Players proposed more games, two years of expanded playoffs, salary deferrals in the event of a 2020 playoff cancellation, and the exploration of additional jewel events and broadcast enhancements aimed at creatively bringing our Players to the fans while simultaneously increasing the value of our product. Rather than engage, the league replied it will shorten the season unless Players agree to further salary reductions.

Earlier today we held a conference call of the Association’s Executive Board and several other MLBPA Player leaders. The overwhelming consensus of the Board is that Players are ready to report, ready to get back on the field, and they are willing to do so under unprecedented conditions that could affect the health and safety of not just themselves, but their families as well. The league’s demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected.

Important work remains to be done in order to safely resume the season. We stand ready to complete that work and look forward to getting back on the field.

As per the current agreement signed in March, if there is a 2020 season, players will be paid on a prorated basis. Thus, fewer games means the players get paid less and the owners save more. MLB has threatened to unilaterally set a 2020 season in motion if the two sides cannot come to terms. It should come as no surprise that the union has responded strongly on both fronts.

There have been varying reports in recent days over the confidence in a 2020 season happening. The MLBPA’s statement tonight doesn’t move the needle any; it simply affirms that the union remains steadfast in its goal to avoid a second significant cut in salaries.

As I see it, the ball is in the owners’ court. The owners can strongarm the players into a short season, saving money but significantly increasing the odds of a big fight in upcoming collective bargaining agreement negotiations. Or the owners can eat more of a financial loss, agreeing to a longer season than they feel is comfortable. The latter would have the double benefit of not damaging overall perception of the sport and would not disrupt labor peace going forward.

The MLBPA statement included a declaration that the players are “ready to report, ready to get back on the field, and they are willing to do so under unprecedented conditions.” If there is no 2020 season, we will have only the owners to blame, not the players.

Update: Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty, who has been quite vocal on social media about these negotiations, chimed in: