ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves named Brian Snitker manager on Tuesday, rewarding him for reversing the team’s direction in his role as interim manager this season.
The Braves finished last in the NL East but won 20 of their last 30 games under Snitker, who was named interim manager on May 17 after Fredi Gonzalez was fired. Snitker had a 59-65 record, including 37-35 after the All-Star break.
Despite the strong finish under Snitker, the Braves also interviewed former managers Bud Black and Ron Washington.
Washington was named the Braves’ third-base coach and Chuck Hernandez was named pitching coach. Snitker’s staff also includes bench coach Terry Pendleton, first base coach Eddie Perez, hitting coach Kevin Seitzer, assistant hitting coach Jose Castro and bullpen coach Marty Reed.
Snitker, 61, was not given much long-term security. He was hired only for the 2017 season with a club option for 2018.
When Snitker, a longtime manager in the Braves’ farm system, was named Atlanta’s interim manager, it was widely thought the team would look outside the organization for a new skipper to take the team into its first season in new SunTrust Park.
Instead, Snitker won over the players and front office. Atlanta was 9-28 when Gonzalez was fired and appeared bound for 100 losses at 18-46 before it began a dramatic turnaround under Snitker.
“Brian earned this opportunity through his dedication to the Braves and to our players,” general manager John Coppolella said in a statement released by the team. “We are excited for the energy and momentum he will bring into SunTrust Park next season.”
The 2017 season will mark Snitker’s 41st in the Braves organization. He had been the manager at Triple-A Gwinnett before replacing Gonzalez on an interim basis.
Atlanta’s strong finish under Snitker, bolstered by the additions of rookie shortstop Dansby Swanson and veteran left fielder Matt Kemp, boosted expectations for next season.
Braves president John Hart said last week the season had been “spiraling out of control” before Snitker “restored order.”
Hernandez, 55, was the Braves’ minor league pitching coordinator this season, his 31st as a coach. He was the Marlins’ pitching coach from 2013-15. The Marlins’ 3.71 ERA in 2013 and 3.78 in 2014 were the two best in franchise history.
“He spent the 2016 season working closely with many of our young, talented pitchers who will be such an important part of our future,” Coppolella said.
Washington, 64, spent the last two seasons on Oakland’s coaching staff after managing the Texas Rangers from 2007 to 2014.
Coppolella said Washington’s experience as a manager “will be an asset to everyone on the club. His tireless work ethic, up-beat attitude and tremendously high baseball IQ will benefit our players and our staff.”