Freddie Freeman and Brian Snitker are just alike. Ok, maybe not at all. One has been the face of Atlanta sports and is set to earn around half a billion dollars over his career, and the other never made it out of the minor leagues until the Braves hired him as the interim manager in 2017, after spending over 40 years with the organization. One is a beloved superstar, while the other was constantly criticized by fans and media outlets alike. However, after ending a 26-year championship drought, both deserve to be Braves for the entirety of their careers.
Freeman is an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and it’s been a topic of conversation all season. Both sides say they want to get a deal done, but that won’t be as easy when every team with a budget in baseball is throwing cash at him. Regardless, Anthopoulos has to get a deal done. There’s simply no way the Braves can let Freeman walk, especially after this season, and the same can be said for Snitker.
Snitker was handed a contract extension before the 2021 campaign, taking him through 2023 with a team option in 2024 — an extension that was met with groans throughout a lot of the fan base. Those groans only became louder as the season progressed and expectations were not being met. Remember, the Braves failed to get over .500 until 109 games into the season. Most of that wasn’t on Snitker, but it’s easy to point fingers at the manager when things aren’t going as expected.
For a long time, I was amongst the crowd. Snitker’s questionable bullpen decisions made me wonder if he was ever going to be the guy that could put this team over the top. I knew he could manage this team to division titles. He has a knack for keeping the clubhouse together even in the most unfortunate times, and that was on full display this season, as the Braves navigated the losses of Marcell Ozuna, Mike Soroka, Ronald Acuña, and several others. But Snitker was always going to be judged for his performance in the postseason, and man, did he out-manage everyone in his path.
I honestly can’t remember a head-scratching decision Snitker made throughout the playoffs. Maybe pulling Duvall in a tie game against the Dodgers in Game 2 of the NLCS, or perhaps walking Alex Bregman in Game 5 of the World Series, but neither of those should be considered egregious decisions. They just didn’t work out. Snitker was perfect, and he needed to be, especially after the losses of Charlie Morton and Huascar Ynoa throughout the playoffs. He rode his top horses, but he also put his faith in the younger guys when needed. His lineup decisions weren’t too shabby as well, and it paid off in a World Series.
At 66-years-old, I’m not sure how much longer Snitker is going to want to manage for. But one things for sure, just like Freddie Freeman, he can do it in Atlanta for as long as he wants.