The Braves were considering parting ways with Brian Snitker at the end of the 2017 season, and the manager revealed to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman that he considered quitting out of frustration with then-Braves GM John Coppolella and president of baseball operations John Hart. Snitker reached the point of contacting a clubhouse attendant back in Atlanta to say “Pack my things, I’m not coming back” after Coppolella criticized one of Snitker’s decisions during the Braves’ third-to-last game of the season, an otherwise meaningless matchup against the Marlins. Snitker stuck around long enough, however, to see his situation unexpectedly change, due to Coppolella’s shocking resignation in the wake of a league investigation into international signing violations. With Coppolella and, eventually, Hart both leaving the organization, Snitker formed a good relationship with new Atlanta GM Alex Anthopoulos and the rest is history, with the Braves winning the NL East. Bowman’s piece is well worth a full read, as it details Snitker’s unlikely path to his first Major League managerial job after spending four decades in the Braves organization as a player, coach, and minor league skipper.
Here’s more on some of the open managerial situations around baseball…
- The Angels have interest in Astros bench coach Joe Espada as a managerial candidate, ESPN.com’s Marly Rivera reports. The 43-year-old Espada previously worked as a third base coach for the Marlins and Yankees before taking his current position in Houston last winter, and Espada has also been a coach for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic and a manager in the Puerto Rican winter league. Espada has ties to Angels GM Billy Eppler, as both worked together with the Yankees in 2014-15, plus Espada briefly played in the Rockies’ minor league system in 2001 when Eppler was a scout in the Colorado organization.
- The Blue Jays are considering Giants VP of player development David Bell and MLB Network analyst Dave Valle as part of their managerial search, as per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (Twitter links). As Rosenthal notes, Bell is also a candidate for the Reds’ manager position, and has been mentioned as a potential successor to Bruce Bochy in San Francisco. Before becoming the Giants’ farm director, Bell worked for the Cardinals as a bench coach and assistant hitting coach, the Cubs as a third base coach, and as a manager for the Reds’ Double-A and Triple-A affiliates. Valle would be something of an outside-the-box choice, as his only pro managing or coaching experience was one season managing Seattle’s A-ball affiliate in 2014. Since wrapping up his 13-year playing career in 1996, Valle has been a TV and radio broadcaster for the Mariners, as well as a broadcaster for MLB Network since 2009.
- In another tweet, Rosenthal also listed Eric Wedge, John McDonald, Sandy Alomar Jr., and Stubby Clapp as likely candidates for the Blue Jays job. The four names have often been mentioned in connection with the Jays’ search in recent weeks, plus bench coach DeMarlo Hale and Double-A manager John Schneider are also known to be under consideration.
- The Orioles officially announced yesterday that Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette wouldn’t be returning to the club in 2019, though the fact that the team waited until after the season to announce the changes “makes absolutely no sense” to ESPN.com’s Buster Olney (Twitter link). Both Showalter and Duquette were in the last year of their contracts and there was a clear sense that changes would be made in the wake of Baltimore’s disastrous 115-loss season, so in Olney’s view, “valuable time [was] squandered” by the Orioles. Rather than begin their search for a new manager and GM over the last several weeks or months, the O’s will now be competing for candidates with other teams looking to fill managerial or front office vacancies.