ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves plan to interview former major league managers Bud Black and Ron Washington, in addition to giving interim skipper Brian Snitker strong consideration to run the team in 2017.
The Braves finished last in the NL East but are feeling good about their long-term prospects after a 50-47 finish to the season. The team started 9-28 under Fredi Gonzalez, who was fired, and stood at 18-46 before Snitker led a dramatic turnaround.
Team president John Hart and general manager John Coppolella both said Monday that Snitker is in the running to keep his job based on the way the team responded to his leadership. Snitker even attended an end-of-the-year media session with the two team executives, indicating he’s comfortable with the process and doesn’t mind waiting for the Braves to make a decision.
“I didn’t need this job to validate my career,” Snitker said. “If I was them, I’d be doing the same thing.”
Hart was effusive in his praise of Snitker, who has a long career with the Braves in a variety of roles. But the team president said it was imperative that the Braves look at all their options before deciding who should be in the dugout for the debut season at SunTrust Park.
“Brian Snitker did a tremendous job,” Hart said. “The year was spiraling out of control. He restored order.”
Black spent nearly 8 1/2 years as San Diego’s manager, going 649-713 before he was fired during the 2015 season. He had only two winning records and never led the Padres to the playoffs, though he was picked as NL Manager of the Year in 2010.
Black appeared to be in line for the Washington Nationals job going into this season, but negotiations broke down over a contract and Dusty Baker was hired instead.
Washington spent nearly eight seasons as Texas manager, guiding the Rangers to consecutive World Series appearances from 2010-11 and capturing a pair of AL Manager of the Year awards. He surprisingly resigned during the 2014 season, revealing later that he stepped down because he had been unfaithful to his wife of 42 years.
Washington spent the last two seasons as a coach with the Oakland Athletics, but his ties to Hart go back to when both worked for the Rangers.
“When you go outside and talk (to candidates), you learn things,” Hart saId. “There are a lot of smart guys out there. It would be shame on us if we didn’t take this opportunity to take a look at the landscape and get a feel for what people think about our club, our players. That’s a part of what you do in this.”
In addition to Snitker, the Braves have also interviewed coaches Terry Pendleton, Eddie Perez and Bo Porter. But Coppolella seemed to rule them out when he said it was unlikely the team would hire someone with no managerial experience over Snitker, especially from his own coaching staff.