Eight days ago, the Atlanta Braves were leaning toward retaining Brian Snitker as their manager. Not giving him a new contact, mind you. Just exercising his option year. Eight days ago, the probability of Snitker returning was believed to be 55-45.
Today it’s closer than that. Today it might be 50-50, or 49-51. This has gone back and forth (and forth and back) for a while, and we have to ask: At what point does the inability to reach a decision become the decision itself?
The Braves have seen Snitker manage for 286 games. His record is 131-155, which isn’t terrible given that he was handed a rebuilding team. Last year’s team finished 20-10, which is why Snitker was brought back. This team lost 11 of its final 16 games, which is part of the reason why he mightn’t be kept.
The intent today isn’t to re-litigate the case. My thoughts on Snitker can be found here. All I want to say is this: If the Braves don’t believe he’s the guy for their future, he shouldn’t be the guy for Opening Day 2018.
By handing him a one-year contract with a team option last October, the Braves essentially made an interim manager a permanent interim manger. (If that makes any sense, which it doesn’t, which is the point.) If all they do is exercise that one-year option, he’ll be an even lamer duck next season, which benefits no one.
I understand that there’s a real division among the Braves’ higher-ups. Terry McGuirk told Mark Bowman of MLB.com that Snitker is the kind of guy who merits a monument, which is rather lavish praise for a manager who’s 24 games under .500. There’s nobody who doesn’t like Snitker, and his players keep lobbying for him, which is nice but also beside the point. Players don’t get to choose who manages them. That falls to those higher-ups.
If, after 286 games, those higher-ups are this divided, shouldn’t that tell them something? On a baseball field, a tie is supposed to go to the runner. In management, a tie shouldn’t go to the incumbent.