NORTH PORT, Fla. -- Brian Snitker’s potential lame-duck status was erased Monday, when the Braves extended their manager and each of his coaches through the 2021 season.
Along with the contract extensions, the Braves announced that Alex Anthopoulos has been promoted from vice president to president of baseball operations. Anthopoulos’ contract was extended through the 2024 season.
Snitker and Anthopoulos have enjoyed nothing but success since the latter joined the organization to run the baseball operations department before the 2018 season.
The Braves have won consecutive National League East titles and quickly distanced the organization from a rebuilding process, within which Atlanta produced MLB’s third-worst winning percentage (.427) from '15-17.
“I wasn’t looking for anything, but Alex called yesterday, we talked and I thought that was awesome,” Snitker said. “I’m excited. It’s a good feeling.”
After the Braves won their division title two years ago, Snitker was given a two-year contract that included an option for the 2021 season. Snitker was named the 2018 NL Manager of the Year and he finished second in balloting for the award last year. The 64-year-old manager is entering his 44th season with the organization.
“I had one two-year deal a long time ago,” Snitker said. “But really, I think I only had one (prior to becoming Atlanta’s manager during the 2016 season). It was almost like you made better money going year-to-year because sometimes the raises would be better on the single years. It wasn’t all bad.”
As the Braves aim for a third straight division title, Snitker’s coaching staff will once again include Walt Weiss (bench coach), Ron Washington (third-base coach), Eric Young Sr. (first-base coach), Kevin Seitzer (hitting coach), Rick Kranitz (pitching coach), Sal Fasano (catching coach), Marty Reed (bullpen coach) and José Castro (assistant hitting coach).
“Alex does things the right way,” Snitker said. “(The coaches) were really excited. It’s good that the players know that staff will be around for a few years. What the coaches have invested in those players and this organization is a lot. It’s a great group. I’m happy all them chose to come back and we all stayed together.”
Snitker said he has not yet talked to Markakis about how he will be utilized. But as camp progresses, he’ll maintain regular dialogue with the 36-year-old outfielder, who has never previously served in a backup role.
“I really haven’t had a chance to talk to him,” Snitker said. “I will at some point in camp. I think he realizes at this point in his career, he’s probably not going to be an everyday player. Is he capable? Absolutely. No doubt in my mind. I look at him and I don’t think he ever ages. But the situation has changed and we’ll use Spring Training to decide how we’re going to go. A lot of things can happen between now and the end of March.”
When Markakis re-signed with the Braves in November, he was told he might platoon in left field with Duvall. But that possible plan was erased when third baseman Josh Donaldson’s exit led the Braves to replenish his power by signing Ozuna.
The Braves will stage their first full-squad workout on Tuesday. But as is the case most years, many of the position players made early arrivals and participated in workouts over the past few days.
While top prospect Cristian Pache has not worked out, other young stars like Ronald Acuña Jr. and Ozzie Albies have been working out at the complex since last week. Freddie Freeman's arrival on Sunday was a few days later than normal. But he’s come to realize, it’s best to pace himself as he prepares for a journey he hopes through all of October.
“When you get older, you know what you need to do and you realize how long Spring Training is,” Freeman said. “I used to get here seven or eight days before the reporting date. Pretty much everyone is ready from day one when they get down here. That’s a bad taste from last year’s playoffs. So, I think everyone is really excited about getting going again this year.”