Brian Snitker hoping to return as Braves manager in 2018

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Saturday, September 23, 2017

ATLANTA -- Brian Snitker is on a one-year contract and doesn't know if he will return next year as manager of the Atlanta Braves.

The 61-year-old Snitker, in his 41st season with the organization, hopes the front office brings him back despite his 127-148 record since replacing Fredi Gonzalez last year.

"I'd love to be here," Snitker told The Associated Press on Friday. "I want to be here. We'll see."

The Braves hold an option for a second year, but Snitker has yet to hear their plans for 2018. John Hart, Atlanta's president of baseball operations, did not immediately respond to a message left by The AP seeking comment.

Snitker is 68-83 this season. The Braves are just 35-43 at their new home, SunTrust Park, and will finish with a losing home record in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1988-90.

Snitker spent 11 years on the Atlanta coaching staff and 20 years as a minor league manager. He said he can't imagine working for another organization, but doesn't expect to hear his fate until the season ends Oct. 1.

"This has been my life," he said. "The majority of time I've been alive I've been with the Atlanta Braves. So yeah, it's going to be hard to think about being somewhere else."

Snitker didn't exactly have a playoff-caliber roster when the season began.

Two aging starters, R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon, and longtime veteran Jaime Garcia were plugged into the rotation as one-year gaps. Brandon Phillips was acquired to hold down second base until rookie Ozzie Albies was ready. The Braves did not have a dependable third baseman. They were hoping for consistent production from veteran outfielders Matt Kemp and Nick Markakis and closer Jim Johnson.

Atlanta was .500 on July 16 and had hopes of contending for an NL wild-card spot, but Julio Teheran struggled to retain his ace status and starting pitchers are 44-67 with a 4.84 ERA this year. Mike Foltynewicz, who the Braves hoped would emerge as the No. 2 starter, has been inconsistent. Colon, Garcia and Phillips are no longer with the team.

First baseman Freddie Freeman and center fielder Ender Inciarte are the only consistent threats in the lineup. Kemp has been sidelined with hamstring injuries. Matt Adams was a defensive liability and couldn't hold down the first-base job when Freeman moved briefly to third. Albies and shortstop Dansby Swanson are rookies who are still feeling their way in the big leagues.

Snitker believes the Braves, eliminated from postseason contention last Sunday, have a promising future. Freeman is a star. Inciarte is a Gold Glover who's close to getting 200 hits. Slugging prospect Ronald Acuna is expected to challenge for an outfield job next spring.

Sean Newcomb, Lucas Sims and Luiz Gohara, already in Atlanta's rotation, will be pushed by prospects Kolby Allard, Mike Soroka, Kyle Wright and Ian Anderson.

Snitker wants to stay on.

"It's a lot of fun to be at the ballpark," he said. "You're with young guys. You're active. You're outside and get to travel around. It's better than retirement, and you get the winters off."