Brian Snitker to Return as Braves Manager: Latest Comments and Reaction

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 11, 2016

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 25:  Brian Snitker #43 of the Atlanta Braves calls for a pitching substitution in the eighth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Turner Field on May 25, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves announced Tuesday that Brian Snitker will take over as the club's full-time manager after serving in an interim role to finish the 2016 season. 

The organization relayed the news on its official Twitter feed.

Snitker took over the reins after Atlanta fired Fredi Gonzalez in May. The rebuilding Braves were off to a miserable 9-28 start and looked destined to finish in the MLB basement by a considerable margin before the 60-year-old Illinois native took over.

The Braves played much better following the managerial change. They went a respectable 59-65 under his guidance, climbing out of the cellar to finish with the fifth-worst record in the league, a small sign of progress as they look to make bigger strides in 2017.

David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution passed along comments from star first baseman Freddie Freeman in late September about the positive impact Snitker made:

I enjoy him. I loved him when he was here as a third-base coach. He's just a calm guy. He goes out there, puts the lineup down and lets guys go to work. His presence is something that just makes you want to run through walls for. I think everybody in this clubhouse has responded to him, because he's such a good guy, he treats everybody the right way. I love him, so you just want to go out there and do as good as you can for him.

Veteran outfielder Nick Markakis added: "A manager can only do so much, and for him to make it easy for us to go out there and do our job, it's appreciated and I know guys like it."

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Despite those glowing reviews from inside the clubhouse, the Braves still went through a full interview process before announcing Snitker would return. Jon Heyman of Today's Knuckleball reported former MLB managers Ron Washington and Bud Black were the other finalists.

Next season will mark the first time Snitker will be a full-time manager in the majors. That said, he's been with the Braves organization for four decades in a variety of roles, including managing several of the organization's minor league teams.

The pressure level is beginning to rise in Atlanta, though. The Braves haven't made the playoffs since 2013 and last won a postseason series in 2001. So they went through a complete retooling process to bolster the system with an eye on a brighter future.

Expectations are on the rise for 2017 as the club moves into its new home, SunTrust Park, which comes at the same time its prized prospects start to arrive. The new wave of talent is led by shortstop Dansby Swanson, who posted a .361 on-base percentage in his first 38 career games this season.

All told, Snitker deserved the opportunity to return as manager given how well the Braves finished, but the honeymoon period won't last long if Atlanta starts slow next year.