The Atlanta Braves just announced a new contract for their manager: Brian Snitker, who was initially named interim manager in 2016 and then was given a one-year deal plus a team option when he was made permanent manager in October of that year, is now signed for two more seasons with a team option for 2021.
In 2018 Snitker, 63, took a Braves team that was widely expected to be at least a year away from contention to a 90-72 record and an NL East title. Snitker has been in the Braves organization in some role or another for over 40 years and is well-respected within the current big league clubhouse. As such, his extension was a foregone conclusion even if many originally expected him to be a caretaker manager until the team got into serious contention.
UPDATE: While Snitker was extended, the Braves have fired pitching coach Chuck Hernandez.
Hernandez, a long-time big league and minor league pitching coach, was hired by the Braves in November 2015 as Minor League pitching coordinator and was named the pitching coach for the Braves following the conclusion of the 2016 season. His dismissal this year is likely a product of a Braves staff that issued the second-most walks in the majors this season and allowed 27 walks and 8 homers in four games against the Dodgers in the NLDS.
The Yankees appear to have moved on from free agent Manny Machado this winter, but could they be turning their attention to Rockies superstar Nolan Arenado? That’s the idea floated by Andy Martino of SNY, who hears that GM Brian Cashman has been involved in recent discussions concerning the third baseman. No official comments have been made to the press yet, though, and it’s not clear whether the Yankees would prefer to pursue Arenado prior to the 2019 season or partway through it.
The 27-year-old infielder earned his fourth consecutive All-Star nomination, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove award in 2018 after slashing .297/.374/.561 with 38 home runs, a .935 OPS, and 5.7 fWAR across 673 plate appearances. There’s no question he’s provided immense value to Colorado’s lineup over the last half-decade, and his consistency and incredible power at the plate helped form the basis of the record $30 million arbitration figure he presented to the team last week. The Rockies countered at $24 million, however, and in doing so may have jeopardized their chances of convincing the infielder to forego free agency in 2020 and take a long-term deal instead.
Assuming he declines to negotiate an extension with the Rockies, Arenado’s decorated résumé and career-best 2018 numbers should attract plenty of interest around the league — a reality that could put considerable pressure on the Yankees (or any other interested party) to finesse a deal sooner rather than later. For now, the club is prepared to enter the 2019 season with hot-hitting third baseman Miguel Andújar, whom Martino speculates would be the “centerpiece” of any trade with Colorado.