The Braves are planning to offer manager Brian Snitker a new contract, Jon Heyman of Fancred writes in this week’s notes column. Soon to turn 63, Snitker took over as manager on an interim basis back in 2016 after the Braves dismissed Fredi Gonzalez. There were ups and downs during the first two seasons of his tenure, but the ’18 ballclub outpaced expectations by winning 90 games and securing an NL East division title. Snitker’s current contract only runs through the end of the month, and it’s not yet clear how long of a deal the Braves will put on the table.
A bit more out of Atlanta…
- Snitker held an extensive chat with reporters after the club’s exit from the postseason, as MLB.com’s Mark Bowman was among those to cover. The skipper says he’d like to stay in his post for “a few more years.” It’s not hard to see why, as there’s considerable excitement for the future in Atlanta. Of course, as Snitker also noted, there’s still work to do for the club to reach its potential. “We’ve just got to continue to work to get stronger with the bullpen depth, the bench and things like that,” he said. “We’re not a finished product by any means. There’s a lot of young players on our team — position players and pitchers — that will take steps to get there.”
- Heyman also reports that the Braves are not currently planning on issuing a qualifying offer to right fielder Nick Markakis. The 34-year-old veteran enjoyed his most productive season since 2012, hitting .297/.366/.440 with 14 home runs, 43 doubles and a pair of triples in 705 plate appearances while playing in all 162 games for the Braves this season. It’s worth noting, though, that Markakis’s season was largely fueled by a five-week power surge early in the year. He homered seven times in his first 160 plate appearances and then went on to hit .285/.350/.407 with seven homers in his next 545 PAs. That’s certainly solid production, but it’s more in line with Markakis’ three prior seasons in Atlanta (.280/.357/.386). Given the manner in which aging corner outfielders have struggled in free agency in recent seasons, it’s not entirely surprising that the front office wouldn’t want to risk a $17.9MM offer.
- Second baseman Ozzie Albies also got off to an incredibly impressive start in 2018, but struggled through a terrible second half of the season at the plate. Still, as Gabe Burns of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes, Snitker voiced confidence in the youngster’s ability to develop into a consistent threat at the plate. “I have every confidence, and I think everybody does, in him as a player,” said Snitker. “He’s got the skill set. It’s sometimes not a bad thing that you kind of get sobered up a little bit. That’s part of it. And it takes awhile. You just have to have patience with these guys.” Albies, still just 21 years of age, hit just .254/.296/.409 from May 1 through season’s end and struggled even more mightily when looking solely at his post-All-Star break split: .226/.282/.342.