Braves: Brian Snitker’s legacy in Atlanta is far from over

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Perhaps it wasn’t quite the extension you were hoping for (how is Freddie Freeman still not locked up?), but last Friday, Brian Snitker’s run as Braves skipper was extended at least another three seasons. The 65-year-old signed a contract extension guaranteeing him the job through the 2023 campaign, with a club option for 2024 as well. 

As our own Chase Irle opined here in his post about said extension, the deal “gives Snitker a little cushion. He’s no longer a lame-duck manager, and he’s earned that right.”

Earned the right is right! Since he took the helm with 124 games to go in the 2016 regular season (replacing Fredi Gonzalez), Snitker has helped guide Atlanta to win totals of 72, 90, 97 and 35 from 2017-20, while essentially over-achieving each and every preseason projection in the process. Yes, a lot of that success should be credited to the players, but Snit deserves some love too.

Last September, I wrote about Snitker and how he was headed to franchise greatness (somewhat surprisingly), a season after Atlanta won their most games since 2003. At the time of my writing (Sept. 8), the Braves had won 24 more games during the 2020 campaign, despite — as I stated in the post — a “duct-taped starting rotation and a prolonged absence by one of their most electric players in the lineup, no. 2 hitter and second baseman, Ozzie Albies.”

At that juncture in the season, Snitker’s 342 career wins were just 11 short of what he’d end up with at the conclusion of 2020. He started the ’20 season ranked 13th all-time in wins among Braves managers, but by the end of the year — and now heading into 2021 — Snitker sits at no. 9. And with his new contract, he still has plenty of former Atlanta skippers to pass.

All-Time Braves Managers (wins)

  1. Bobby Cox — 2,058  
  2. Frank Selee — 1,004 
  3. George Stallings — 579 
  4. Bill McKechnie — 560 
  5. Fredi Gonzalez — 432 
  6. Billy Southworth — 424 
  7. Lurn Harris — 379 
  8. Casey Stengel — 373
  9. Brian Snitker — 353

In fact, it’s safe to assume, given his newly-acquired job security, that Snitker will end up with the third-most wins in Braves history by the time he eventually calls it quits (or is no longer employed by the team). Looking at the above rankings, George Stallings — Boston Braves skipper from 1913-20 — tallied 579 wins across eight seasons, though he only managed one 90-win season during his Braves tenure. Snitker is just 227 wins from passing Stallings at no. 3 all-time, which is certainly a doable feat. At just a meager pace of 85 wins per season from 2021 forward, Snitker could easily hit win no. 580 at some point after the All-Star break during the 2023 campaign, his final guaranteed year of the current extension signed on Friday.

Of course, it’s not merely a given, although things would really have to start going poorly for Atlanta for Snitker not to tack on another 260-265 combined wins by the end of the 2023 season as this team is in the prime of its contention window; that’s an 8-year managerial career with roughly 615 total wins. And you can debate as to whether or not his involvement has boosted or hindered this current stretch of Braves contention, but the fact remains: Brian Snitker’s legacy as Atlanta’s manager is far from over. The man deserves this extension.

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