Braves exercise Snitker's option for 2018

Braves exercise Snitker's option for 2018

ATLANTA -- As Brian Snitker progressed through the final month of the season, he was uncertain whether he would be given another chance to be a Major League manager. The odds of him being retained as the Braves' skipper seemed to fluctuate on a weekly and sometimes daily basis.

Fortunately for Snitker, he didn't have to wait long to receive the answer he and many of the Braves players were seeking.

Snitker's managerial stint was extended on Thursday, when the Braves announced his contractual option for 2018 had been exercised. This news served as an early birthday president for the Cobb County resident, who will turn 62 on Oct. 17. He will now prepare for what will be his 42nd consecutive season within Atlanta's organization.

Snitker will participate in organizational meetings to be held at the team's Spring Training complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. But it's unclear which coaches might participate. The Braves will wait, likely until next week, to announce any coaching staff changes, a couple of which could affect bench coach Terry Pendleton and first-base coach Eddie Perez.

Braves president of baseball operations John Hart informed Snitker of the decision on Monday, just hours after it was announced that general manager John Coppolella had been forced to resign in the midst of multiple infractions, including the findings made by MLB investigators while looking into dealings on the international player market.

With Coppolella out of the decision-making process, the Braves quickly created some stability by sticking with Snitker, who exited Sunday's regular-season finale with the understanding that he might have to wait at least a few days before learning his fate.

Braves CEO and chairman Terry McGuirk praised Snitker during a recent conversation with MLB.com and provided some indication that he was not advocating for a managerial change.

Hart drew the ire of some veteran players after a loss to the Mariners on Aug. 23, when he entered Snitker's office and loudly bashed the decision to use struggling veteran reliever Jim Johnson with a one-run lead in the eighth inning. But over the course of the next few weeks, the relationship between Hart and Snitkner again became a cordial working one.

Snitker's in-game decisions, such as sticking with Matt Kemp to face Marlins right-handed closer Brad Ziegler in the ninth inning of Friday's loss, have occasionally been maddening to some and have often seemingly been influenced by his loyalty to veteran players.

But Freddie Freeman, the franchise's cornerstone player, has spent time during each of the past two seasons campaigning for Snitker to be retained as the club's manager, a role he initially gained on an interim basis after Fredi Gonzalez was dismissed during the early portion of the 2016 season.

Freeman's wish proved influential last year when Snitker was chosen after the Braves interviewed both Bud Black and Ron Washington, the latter of whom agreed to become Atlanta's third-base coach after not being chosen to manage.

Washington would have likely gotten the job had the Braves decided to make a change this year. But he was among the many clubhouse figures who neared the end of this season with the belief that Snitker deserved a chance to remain manager.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.