Keeping Snitker: Not a great move, but maybe the right move

He’s back. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The Atlanta Braves have bigger issues than who manages the team. That would have sounded silly this time a week ago, but the Braves’ world has changed. They’re seeking a new general manager, who might well wind up being their new president of baseball operations. More important – and there’s not much that could be more important than a baseball team’s GM/president – they’re being investigated by MLB, apparently on more than one front.

I’m on the record as believing Brian Snitker isn’t the best manager for the Braves going forward. That view hasn’t changed. Circumstances have. The Braves need to devote themselves to steadying their front office before they worry about the on-field stuff.

They need to get this GM/president thing right. John Hart, incumbent prez, is believed to be staying through next season, but that’s not yet a certainty. If Dayton Moore, say, would agree to come here but only as president – that bit of title escalation is the trend in baseball circles; Theo Epstein isn’t technically the Cubs’ GM, nor is Andrew Friedman the Dodgers’ – would Hart say, “Dayton, you’re hired, I’m leaving, best of luck”?

Probably not, but these are uncharted waters. The Braves’ rebuild is without its rebuilder. The contract of one of their brightest prospects could be voided. MLB sanctions are almost sure to come, and they don’t figure to be love taps. This is a fractious time for an organization that – John Schuerholz word here – likes to think of itself as seamless.

One seam that doesn’t need to be showing is an even more protracted debate over the manager. The Braves were torn on Snitker even up to the final day of the regular season, which happened to be the day GM John Coppolella offered his resignation. Had Coppolella remained in place, there’s a good chance Snitker would have been out by now.

This isn’t to suggest that the matter of Snitker-as-skipper has been resolved. The guess here is that it has only been tabled. Assuming Ron Washington returns as third-base coach, that replacement option will remain open as next season begins, which probably isn’t fair to Snitker, but there you are.

Some of my difficulty with Snitker has to do with him managing a rebuilding team as if every win means something, but that’s inevitable when you’ve essentially spent 1 4/5 seasons as an interim manager. He was hired to sweep up after Fredi Gonzalez and rewarded with but a one-year contract, which wasn’t much of a reward.

I can’t imagine the Braves, having struggled with the decision of keep/don’t-keep, would do more that exercise their option for one more year. That was another reason I’d have made the change – because one more year wouldn’t have removed the expiration date so much as reset it.

But that was then. In the jarring here and now, hanging on to Snitker seems a reasonable Step 1 in crisis management. The important matters await.

Reader Comments 0

22 comments
LEWWHEEL
LEWWHEEL

How do you evaluate a manager who is has 2 non major league rosters to work with?


Oh, Yes , I can just hear Snit saying at a post game interview, as you suggest, We are rebuilding , winning doesn't mean anything.


Bradley you would be all over that, you mention win loss record routinely.

jlrhoya
jlrhoya

This team is becoming a joke - they fire/let go/let resign their GM one day, rehire a bad manager quickly which could have waited a week or so, and then announce higher parking prices the next.


This team is not just being run like a business but a bad one.

hector jonh
hector jonh

I understand your comment very well, but we have always observed how little it has actually been done, we do nothing with preparing a very nice garden if the house comes to us, that is what has been done so far, and with regard to what If you do not have a good captain and a good helmsman, that boat sinks, this is a good GM, you can have the best team in the world. we are going through, find a good GM and leave the manager who has the failed team, it would be like fixing the living room of a house and leave the kitchen. understand, everyone, from the simple manager to the top president, everyone should be out

khd713
khd713

@hector jonh This reads like a Google translation of something written in Swahili. 

TideDawg
TideDawg

Hey! What about college football? Let's let the Braves and Falcons rest for a couple of weeks.

TADNROME
TADNROME

I can't believe I am agreeing with you, Mr. Bradley, but might I add,  what difference does it make?

BobDawg
BobDawg

Mark, I still feel this a good thing for the Bravos long term.. Yes, some short term pain but if we can get Dayton Moore in here we can clear the dead wood out (Hart; Scherholz) and he can get his GM in here also.... I bet Dayton's price tag went up dealing from a position of strength here.... 


This was going to be a pivotal year for Coppy in what was a Phase 2 of the rebuild... Who do you keep; Who do you go get and Who do you promote next Spring... Hearing Mark Bowman talk on 680 yesterday.. He felt Coppy was stretched too thin and Hart was checked out obviously (on the golf course)...


Snit is fine this year and let's see what he does with a better club next year...The pitching has been pitiful for 2 years now... 

Buckhead Vol
Buckhead Vol

Braves are not a baseball club anymore and have not been for 2 years.  They are a business.  Essentially a real estate company.

patriotdog
patriotdog

Never cared for Coppy. Too slick, too quick to blame others publicly. I find it hard to believe Hart and Schuerholz knew nothing, though. If so, they should be fired for not paying attention. If not, they should be fired for being complicit.

Either way, dead wood needs to be tossed.

sea8491
sea8491

What is so sad is that the right owner and better than average management could turn this team around in a New York minute.


IlliniBrave
IlliniBrave

Shitker looks and acts clueless to me - but to be fair that is what the whole organization looks like now. Just when it looked like we were starting to climb out of a deep dark hole, the hole now looks to get deeper and darker. This feels like a bad dream, but I'm guessing that the Braves won't be contending for a long long time. Especially if MLB levels severe sanctions against the team.

#41
#41

You lost big on this one Mark – now don’t go crying like a baby cause you didn’t get your way (just kidding of course). Me, I like Snit and I'm glad for him. He has humility*, the right attitude, the experience and even better, the players' support. He certainly must have the patience of Job. Now the front office needs to do their job and get him some pitchers.

*a quality that a lot of big shot, big city sportswriters lack

blevins1491
blevins1491

You've gotta love the AJC Braves glee club.  If Schuerholz and his cronies signed Rosie O'Donnell to be GM, manager, and shortstop, they would find the silver lining.  "Well, she is affordable..."

DawgNole
DawgNole

"The Braves’ rebuild is without its rebuilder."

______________

Thankfully!!!

#41
#41

@DawgNole  Agree. Now John "I know nothing" Hart needs to be shown the door. 

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

The reality that the John's still have jobs is the baseball equivalent of leaving the leadership of Enron or Equifax in-place.

mc1362002
mc1362002

This feels like the mid to late 80s, even though the circumstances may be different.      90 losses every year at the major league level, a wealth of talents at the minor league level, and an unstable manager.  The only difference then as opposed to now, is that when Ted Turner and Bobby Cox ran the team,  Bobby rebuilt, fired three other managers, and then took the job himself.     Liberty Media also isnt Turner ownership wise.


The other difference is that back then, they had run down , old Atlanta Fulton County Stadium, and a basically low payroll except for Bruce Sutter and Dale Murphy.  Now, with salaries being as they are, and a new , very expensive stadium in the middle of nowhere,   winning after three brutal seasons is essential. 


The Braves have to stablize and begin to show progress next season, regardless of who the manager is. 


It would seem, that Snitker is just "holding the job" until the young talent arrives, and the team begins to improve. 


I would be surprised if he makes it  through next season.   I would be shocked if he manages all of next season, unless the Braves greatly improve, the young talent does arrive at least somewhat next year, and the Braves get to.. 500.  Forget about the "Worst to First" dream that happened in 1991.     That would be a pipe dream, especially with the Nationals as strong and good as they are. 

Doug
Doug

I think the Braves need new ownership. By their own admission, Liberty Media doesn't get involved in the Braves Organization. The Braves need ownership that wants to bring a World Series to Atlanta. They need ownership by a group of baseball people. Everybody in the front office and at the executive level need to have the same goal, to play in the World Series. It is time to stop living in the past start a new dynasty.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

wasting my valuable time Bradley, can't level any mild criticism toward your idiotic comment regarding your difficulty with Snit"managing a rebuilding team as if every win means anything" spoken like a true coach of a YMCA soccer team. Wish the intern controlling this site let my first comment be posted.

darb1960
darb1960

@Buschleaguer I agree with you wholeheartedly - I'd like to hear how he's supposed to manage.  Would that be to lose? To give everyone equal playing time? Bradley usually has a clue, but it sounds like he has a personal ax to grind or something.  

He even admits the team plays hard for Snit - I guess we'd all feel good if they quit early.  Lots of late inning wins made them fun to watch.