Braves name Brian Snitker manager

Braves players want Brian Snitker to be the next manager

ATLANTA -- After a sixth-month interview, Brian Snitker got the job.

The Atlanta Braves announced Snitker, who served as the team's interim manager for most of the 2016 season, will take over as the team's next manager.

Snitker, 60, was believed to be the front-runner after taking over for the Braves in May when Fredi Gonzalez was fired.

The former Triple-A Gwinnett Braves manager stepped into the interim role after the major league club slumped to a 9-28 record, the worst start in franchise history. The Braves built some momentum late in the year under Snitker. The team finished by winning 12 of their final 15 games and were 37-35 after the All-Star break. 

The Braves also named their coaching staff for next season, exercising 2017 contract options on bench coach Terry Pendleton, first base coach Eddie Perez, hitting coach Kevin Seitzer and assistant hitting coach Jose Castro. 

Bullpen coach Marty Reed will return for 2017, while Chuck Hernandez has been named as the pitching coach and Ron Washington has been named the third base coach.  Former third base coach Bo Porter will become a Special Assistant to the General Manager.

“Brian earned this opportunity through his dedication to the Braves and to our players,” Braves general manager John Coppolella said. “We are excited for the energy and momentum he will bring into SunTrust Park next season.”

Snitker admitted after the season that becoming the Braves' manager wasn't always his goal.

"In the beginning I wasn’t sure. In the end, yeah I’d like to have this opportunity,” Snitker said. “I’ve seen what you need to do in an organization in order to be competitive up here, and I think everything’s headed in the right direction."

Snitker was the Braves' third base coach from 2006 to 2013. In 2013, he became the manager of the G-Braves.

The Braves interviewed internal candidates Terry Pendleton, Eddie Perez and Bo Porter and former MLB managers Ron Washington and Bud Black.

Hernandez, 55, becomes the newest Braves pitching coach after Roger McDowell was let go last week.

The former MLB pitcher just completed his first season in the Braves organization as the minor league pitching coordinator. It marked his 31st season in a coaching capacity. He joined the organization after spending the previous three seasons (2013-15) as the Major League pitching coach with the Miami Marlins, where he guided the staff to its two best single-season ERA finishes in franchise history in 2013 (3.71) and 2014 (3.78).

“Chuck brings a tremendous amount of experience to this role,” said Copplolella. “He spent the 2016 season working closely with many of our young, talented pitchers who will be such an important part of our future.”

Snitker had immense support from the clubhouse going into the off-season.

"Every since Snit's been here, I think guys have personally bought in to what he's trying to do. He's just one of the managers that gets the best out of his players, knows how to handle his players," infielder Jace Peterson said before the team's final game of the season. "He never gets rattled in the dugout, never gets rattled in the clubhouse. He's the same every day. That's what you want in a manager." 

Mallex Smith and Dansby Swanson both said they "love" Snitker.

"Just how he goes about his business, lets us play, lets us have fun and just puts us in the best possible position to win," Swanson said.

The Braves were 68-93 last season, their third consecutive losing season. Snitker will take the reigns as the team transitions into SunTrust Park, their new stadium in Cobb County.

The first game at SunTrust Park will be an exhibition game against the New York Yankees on March 31. The team's first game of the 2017 season is on the road against the New York Mets on April 3. 

PHOTOS | Brian Snitker

PHOTOS | Atlanta Braves

 

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