When looking at contracts and extension candidates, we often forget about the ones making the on field decisions. With that in mind, today’s Atlanta Braves extension candidate is none other than manager Brian Snitker, the (sometimes) mustached (always) loyal man in the captain’s chair.
Brian Snitker’s Background
If you know anything about the Braves, you probably know that ole Snit basically came out of the womb in a Braves jersey. In fact, he has been in the Braves organization since 1977, waiting decades for his chance to become manager. In 2016, after almost 40 years, his patience was rewarded as he was named interim manager after the firing of Fredi Gonzalez.
He made such a positive impression as an interim manager that he was given the full-time gig by now disgraced Braves executives John Hart and John Coppolella. A year later, despite rumors of his job being in serious jeopardy, he survived the unfortunate exodus caused by some questionable and unethical front office tactics by the aforementioned Johns.
In his earlier life, Snitker played High School baseball in Illinois and went on to graduate from the University of New Orleans. Following college, he embarked on a short-lived playing career in the Braves organization (.254/.316/.390 in 780 at bats). Then came the coaching. The man has done it all.
- Managed the Anderson Braves, Macon Braves, Durham Bulls, Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Greenville Braves, Mississippi Braves, and Richmond Braves.
- Atlanta Braves bullpen coach in 1995 and again from 1988-1990.
- Atlanta Braves 3rd base coach from 2007-2013
- Named Atlanta Braves interim manager in 2016
- Named Atlanta Braves full-time manager later in 2016
The Case for Extension Candidate Brian Snitker
Love him or hate him, you can’t deny that Brian Snitker has been successful as manager of the big league club. His players’ love him and stand up for him, the front office allows him full on field control, and the industry at large honors him (2018 NL Manager of the Year, 2019 Sporting News NL Manager of the year).
He notably raced onto the field in defense of Ronald Acuna when the Marlins decided to throw at him to prevent homeruns. He has benched players for not hustling (Ender Inciarte and Ronald Acuna). His team is a family, and he treats the players as his sons.
While not everyone agrees with his on-field strategies and decisions, he has proven effective. And really, is there a single manager whose fan base honestly thinks they have a well managed bullpen? Managing is a lot harder than it looks. And there’s always the issue of where Markakis will hit in the batting order.
The Contract Proposal for Brian Snitker
Manager’s contracts are complicated. For one, they’re often short, even frequently being year-to-year. Club options are common, salaries aren’t always publicized, and teams have no problem taking on dead money to move on.
Snitker’s current contract is a 2 year deal (that began in 2019) with a club option for 2021.
The highest paid managers in baseball can make approximately 5-6 million per year. For instance, Bruce Bochy retired after making 6 million in his final year as manager with the San Francisco Giants. Snitker will make nowhere near that.
He doesn’t have the cult following and name recognition of Joe Maddon or the reputation and legacy of Terry Francona. He also shows no indication he has interest in leaving the Braves, a stance that never helps in contract negotiations. Additionally, he has no formal ties to current GM Alex Anthopoulos.
Considering all of that, I would expect the Braves to play out this season before even approaching Snitker about an extension. Assuming this year plays out well, I could see the Braves basically offering him the same contract he currently has (with a slight raise) instead of simply picking up the option year and letting him be a lame duck.
After 2019, I think another 2 year contract with 3rd year option will be on the table. Before he signed the current extension, he was one of the lowest paid managers in MLB, making around $800,000/yr (estimated). Looking at other publicized manager’s salaries and adding in raises, I would guess he is currently making roughly 1 million/year. Bump that up a little higher and you’ll probably be right in line with his next contract.
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this piece on Braves Extension Candidate Brian Snitker, check out the article about extension candidate Mike Soroka.