Aided by the support of his players, including superstar first baseman Freddie Freeman, Brian Snitker will return as the Atlanta Braves’ manager for the 2018 season.
On Thursday afternoon, the franchise announced that the franchise staple’s 2018 team option was exercised.
“Brian is a life-long Brave who has earned the respect and admiration of our players, staff and front office,” Braves president of baseball operations John Hart said. “He has devoted his last 42 years to this organization and has proven that he is dedicated to guiding the team through this transition period.
“We are excited to have him back in the dugout to lead our club next season.”
Snitker, 61, is returning for his third season at the helm for an organization that finds itself in turmoil following the resignation of general manager John Coppolella amid MLB’s investigation into potential violations in the international player market.
Prior to Coppolella’s departure, the franchise was expected to review its managerial situation — with Snitker headlining a list of potential candidates — but with an open search to fill at least one prominent leadership position this offseason it became readily apparent that the Braves were not willing to seek out yet another replacement. Plus, the public endorsement from Atlanta’s clubhouse meant John Hart, the team’s interim GM, would have to openly rule against the clubhouse consensus by selecting another option.
“I went to (the front office) a couple of weeks ago and expressed to them that we love Brian in here,” Freeman told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution back in early August. “That’s all I can do is tell them how I feel about a guy who’s put in all the time and done everything possible to help us win. He deserved the managerial job when he got it, and we all hope that he’s back.”
So Snitker, the longtime company man who joined the organization as a player back in 1977, retains his title in what ultimately amounts to another contract year.
The franchise’s winning percentage has steadily climbed from .414 to .444 during its three-year rebuild — spanning from Fredi Gonzalez to Snitker in the dugout — but after three consecutive 90-loss seasons and a significant amount of prospective building blocks now at the major-league level, demonstrable improvement will be expected in 2018. In other words, with an upgraded roster, Snitker will likely be expected to quickly pad his rebuild-hindered career resume: