Inbox: Will Snitker have interim tag removed?

Beat reporter Mark Bowman answers questions from Braves fans

May 23rd, 2016

Is there a chance the Braves will remove the interim tag from Brian Snitker's managerial role? Or is he simply a placeholder for this season?
-- Cory B., Jacksonville, Ala.

One of the primary reasons the Braves gave the job to Snitker was to avoid having to deal with the consequences of choosing Eddie Perez, Terry Pendleton or Bo Porter to handle the job for the remainder of the season. Had one of these guys been given the job, the other two would have remained on the coaching staff while dealing with the reality that they were not the one who was chosen.
Perez and Pendleton have made it quite clear they are happy with the club's decision to go with Snitker, who fully understands that his stint as a big league manager may not extend beyond this season. But at the same time, he will take full advantage of this opportunity in the same way Pete Mackanin has in Philadelphia. When the Phillies named Mackanin their interim manager last June, the prevailing thought was he'd just be a three-month filler. Right now, Mackanin stands as an early favorite for the National League Manager of the Year Award.
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The improved mood in Atlanta's clubhouse can be attributed to a few wins and the fact that the environment is no longer soiled by the uncertainty that surrounded Fredi Gonzalez's future dating back to the team's 0-9 start. But with that being said, the Braves would be wise to keep an open mind about Snitker, who has provided some early indication he is capable of handling the managerial duties both on and off the field. He's a highly likeable man who has drawn great respect from his players dating back to 1982, when he first became a Minor League manager in Atlanta's system.
Unfortunately, it's only natural to overlook an individual simply because decades have passed without him ever being mentioned as a managerial candidate. But through his loyal stint, Snitker has been one of the most influential members of the Braves' organization and it only makes sense to now keep an open mind about the possibility of him remaining in this role beyond this season.
Does the Braves' front office have a deadline for compiling a list of managerial candidates for 2017?
-- Ross B., Mandan, N.D.

Given that Mark DeRosa was mentioned as a candidate within an Inbox I published in October, the Braves have been compiling this list for at least eight months and will continue to evaluate all of their options, both internal and external, over the course of the remainder of this season.
DeRosa is the "outside the box" candidate who would join the growing list of former players who have recently become big league managers without any former managerial experience. Perez has benefited from the chance to manage in Venezuela this past winter. Pendleton's credentials will be enhanced as he spends the remainder of this season as Atlanta's bench coach -- a role that will better enable the Braves to get a feel for what he could offer as a manager.
Have the Braves thought about moving Nick Markakis to left field and Ender Inciarte to right field?
-- Mike Y., North Topsail Beach, N.C.

Gonzalez understood the benefit of making this switch, but opted not to ask Markakis to make the switch. Snitker has not made this switch during his first week as Atlanta's manager, but there is certainly a chance he could do so in the near future.
Accounting for Inciarte's tremendous range and the fact that he possesses one of the game's best outfield arms, it doesn't make much sense to play him in left field on a regular basis, especially given the fact that enough time has passed for us to realize Markakis will likely not regain the arm strength that he possessed before undergoing neck surgery.
Does trading Julio Teheran make sense now based on how cheap his contract is?
-- Josh W., Salt Lake City, Utah

Nobody trumpeted the need to trade Teheran more than I did last year, when I wondered if he would ever regain his previous value. But based on what I've seen this season and especially as he has posted a 1.15 ERA over his past six starts, I don't see any reason for the Braves to trade a guy who can provide some stability within a young rotation while making an average of $8.4 million from 2017-19.
Teheran's experience will prove beneficial as Atlanta continues to deal with the growing pains felt by Mike Foltynewicz and the other inexperienced starters who will fill their rotation for the remainder of this season and into 2017.
Would the Braves be willing to eat money owed to Markakis to gain a better return from a trade?
-- Daniel H., Trion, Ga.

The Braves entered this season hopeful to get some value from veterans like Erick Aybar, Jason Grilli and Jim Johnson before the Trade Deadline. But as things currently stand, Markakis and Teheran appear to be the only veterans who would garner any kind of value via a trade.
There is no doubt that many teams would be interested in adding a disciplined and experienced leader like Markakis to their clubhouse. But at the same time, there may be some reluctance to provide a significant return for a 32-year-old corner outfielder who has homered once and produced a .694 OPS this season.
Thus, the Braves might need to eat some of the $22 million Markakis will earn over the next two years. But at the same time, they need to project who will fill their outfield spots next year. It might have been easier to trade Markakis had Hector Olivera proven to be a good fit in the outfield. But as Olivera is on the suspended list as his assault case is investigated, there is reason to wonder if the Braves have any desire to have him play in Atlanta again.