Early candidates to be Braves' next manager

Snitker, Perez and Pendleton among in-house options

May 18th, 2016

PITTSBURGH -- As Brian Snitker spends the remainder of this season as their interim manager, the Braves will continue to evaluate Eddie Perez, Terry Pendleton plus some external candidates who might be deemed fit to serve as the club's next long-term manager.

Upon relieving Fredi Gonzalez of his managerial duties on Tuesday, the Braves elevated Snitker from his role as Triple-A Gwinnett's manager. It's a well-deserved opportunity for the 60-year-old suburban Atlanta native who has been a part of Atlanta's organization as a player, coach and Minor League manager since 1977.

But Snitker's reign could end at the conclusion of this season as the Braves determine who is best suited to guide the team through the next era, when the club's talent-rich prospect crop has the potential to make the organization consistent postseason contenders once again.

The Braves discussed replacing Gonzalez with either Perez or Pendleton for the remainder of this season. But they instead elevated their roles on the coaching staff while accounting for the possibility that both could tarnish their future managerial hopes if the team continues to play like it has through the season's first six weeks.

"There were four or five names that we talked about in-house, and I think when we get through this season, we will certainly go through that list again, as well as those who might be outside the organization, to see what is the best fit for us long term," Braves general manager John Coppolella said. "It's a very important hire for us."

Perez, Pendleton and former Brave and current MLB Network analyst Mark DeRosa stand as the early favorites to become Atlanta's manager. DeRosa has never managed, but the suburban Atlanta resident has been routinely mentioned as a potential candidate since the end of the 2015 campaign.

Though former Padres manager Bud Black has been mentioned by some, the Braves have never provided any indication that he is currently viewed as a potential candidate.

Snitker chose Pendleton to serve as his bench coach, and in doing so, he provided the former National League MVP a role in which he can better show his ability to serve as a manager. Pendleton has previously served as Atlanta's hitting coach and first-base coach.

Perez assumed his new role on Monday, vacating his position as Atlanta's bullpen coach to become the first-base coach. The former catcher has managed in the Venezuelan Winter League and guided his native nation to the Caribbean Series this year.

Though Snitker has significantly influenced the Braves organization over the past 40 years, he has never been deemed a long-term managerial candidate. But Atlanta outfielder Jeff Francoeur likens this situation to the one he experienced while playing with the Phillies last year.

When Pete Mackanin replaced Ryne Sandberg as the Phillies' interim manager midway through last season, he was also viewed as a short-term fix. But Mackanin received a two-year deal and the Phillies have continued to exceed expectations under his direction.

"[Snitker] will be here for the rest of the year, and then at that point, we'll see if we want to stay there or if it will be a full-out search," Coppolella said.