A decision has finally been made by the front office in regards to the long-term managerial opening. Brian Snitker has officially had the “interim” title removed from his job title. The Braves extended his contract as manager for another season with a team option for 2018.
The Braves were a different team with Snitker at the helm, going 59-65 after being a laughingstock in the opening weeks of the season. While the additions of Matt Kemp and Dansby Swanson certainly helped, Snitker is to credit for finding the right equation for this lineup. This team really took the next step offensively in the last 30 games of the season, putting up a 20-10 record to close the season as one of the hottest hitting teams in baseball.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The Braves love continuity. Many players were calling for Snitker to keep his job, and Coppy and Co. rightfully listened. Snitker can set a lineup, manage a bullpen, has experience with young players, and 41 years under his belt with the Braves organization. This is a man who has paid his dues and is quickly earning the respect of not only the players, but the city of Atlanta.
However, some changes were made. Roger McDowell, who has a great reputation around the league, will not be brought back next season. While he did outstanding work with veteran pitchers, the struggles of the Braves’ young rotation arms likely called for his head. Chuck Hernandez, who was the organization’s minor league pitching coordinator last season, will take over. He has experience with the young guys and has had four stints with other major league clubs as a pitching coach. McDowell will certainly be missed.
The Braves also added another great coach in Ron Washington, who was the Rangers’ manager from 2007-2014. Washington was rumored to be in the mix along with Snitker, but it looks like they ultimately brought in both. He served as the Oakland Athletics’ third base coach for the past two seasons. This is also a great move because Bo Porter is still being retained as a special assistant to the GM.
Overall, the Braves have a really experienced coaching staff on paper. It is certainly a shame to see McDowell go, but this could prove to be a good move for the team in the long run.
Now let’s see what kind of decisions the Braves will make when it comes to player personnel.