The Atlanta Braves are assessing their managerial situation, and there remains a possibility they could make a change.
Current manager Brian Snitker, who has only a team option year left on his contract, is said to be uncertain to return. If they do change managers, word is they would pick from current coach Ron Washington and front office executive Bo Porter, two in-house candidates who interviewed for the job when Snitker was extended through the year.
Snitker has an option for 2018, and while he is beloved throughout the organization and higher-ups also appreciate the improvement made since Snitker took over for Fredi Gonzalez (Atlanta was 9-28 under Gonzalez in his final year before finishing 59-65 last season, and has a record of 65-78 this season), they may decide that either Washington or Porter fits their mold better. If Snitker is replaced, he’d be expected to stay in the organization, where he’s worked dutifully for four decades.
Meanwhile, team president John Hart, whose contract also is up, is thought likely to return. Hart and GM John Coppolella have formed a close union, and the rebuild is generally going well, with the organization ranked as having either the best or second-best (to the White Sox) minor-league system in baseball. Hart and Coppolella already have reorganized the front office, seemingly a hint Hart will be back.
Beyond some early reshuffling, Adam Fisher was just hired from the Mets to become an assistant GM and Perry Minasian from the Blue Jays to become director of player personnel, with increased duties, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today first reported.
Freddie Freeman, the Braves’ best player, stumped for Snitker a second straight year; Snitker remains extremely popular in the clubhouse and he also has friends in high places. Bill Shanks, a local writer there who’s so close to John Schuerholz he’s practically his ghost writer, echoed those sentiments, so presumably that’s Schuerholz’s position. However, the call will likely be made by Hart in conjunction with Coppolella.
Hart made something out of how he isn’t compiling lists of potential candidates this time around – of course, that could be because they have two very good in-house candidates on hand. Hart knew Washington from his days in Texas, and he took the Rangers twice to the World Series, though he has that one obvious blip on his record. Porter, who worked as the team’s third base coach for two years before moving to the front office as special assistant to the GM, should get a second shot somewhere since his first shot wasn’t a real shot at all. He was just a caretaker for an Astros team that was tanking (though it was probably a good learning experience in some ways), and even while doing that job, the Astros improved nearly 20 games in his second and final season there.