Snitker's status with 2018 Braves uncertain

Rookie Fried to start Sunday as Dickey opts to end season

September 28th, 2017
The Braves have yet to announce the status of manager Brian Snitker for the 2018 season. (Getty)

MIAMI -- Braves manager Brian Snitker was encouraged by a meeting he had with team executives last weekend, but there is a strong possibility he will enter the offseason without knowing whether his option for the 2018 season will be exercised.

The odds of Snitker remaining Atlanta's manager have improved over the past week, and for now, he is likely the favorite for the position. But before making a decision, the Braves may spend a few days next week evaluating both their internal and external options, some of which might materialize after other clubs make their own managerial and coaching staff decisions after Sunday's regular-season finale.

Regardless of whether Snitker returns, the Braves are expected to announce at least one change to their coaching staff next week.

If the Braves don't choose to stick with Snitker, the only other legitimate internal option is third-base coach Ron Washington, who interviewed for the managerial position before Snitker was given the job last October.

Since becoming Atlanta's manager after Fredi Gonzalez was fired 37 games into the 2016 season, Snitker has gained strong respect within the clubhouse. Freddie Freeman is among the players who have told the team's executives he wants Snitker back next year.

Dickey ends his season

R.A. Dickey entered Snitker's office at Marlins Park Thursday afternoon and informed his manager he had decided not to start Sunday afternoon's season finale against the Marlins. Rookie will make the start.

"[Dickey] has had enough," Snitker said. "I think it's just a matter of it being a long and physical season. He's been [going strong] for the last six months. I just wanted to give him the option. If he wanted to go out there and pitch, heck yeah, I would have loved to have him do it."

There is a possibility Dickey will opt to retire at the end of this season, but his choice to skip Sunday's start is not directly related to this decision. The 42-year-old knuckleballer is still evaluating his future, which could be influenced by whether the Braves opt to exercise his $8 million option for next season.

Dickey posted a 4.26 ERA and completed 190 innings over 31 starts this season. The Nashville, Tenn., resident completed at least seven innings a team-high 11 times, and he was the only Braves pitcher to complete as many as eight innings twice this season. He proved to be the innings-eater the Braves desired when they signed him last winter to serve as a short-term bridge to the club's next wave of starting pitching prospects.