Posted on February 17, 2020, by Bryan Zarpentine
On the heels of back-to-back NL East titles, the Atlanta Braves surely like the direction they’re heading. They let it be known officially on Monday by giving contract extensions to both manager Brian Snitker and GM Alex Anthopoulos. Snitker is now signed through the 2021 season rather than having 2020 being the last guaranteed year on his contract. The team’s entire coaching staff is also locked in through the 2021 season. Meanwhile, Anthopoulos has had his contract extended through the 2024 season.
“I am very pleased that Alex will be leading the Atlanta Braves’ baseball operations for years to come,” said team chairman Terry McGuirk. “Since he joined the organization, Alex has continued the winning tradition that Braves fans have come to expect.”
The 42-year-old Anthopoulos took the reins in Atlanta following the 2017 season. He inherited an organization that had lost 90 games in three straight seasons and won just one division title in 12 years. Since then, he’s pushed a lot of the right buttons with regard to bringing in talent from outside the organization. Specifically, signing players like Josh Donaldson and Dallas Keuchel has helped Atlanta win the NL East in both seasons that Anthopoulos has put the roster together. At the same time, he has trusted the young talent in the organization to get the job done while also signing standout players Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies to long-term extensions.
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Of course, Snitker deserves just as much credit for Atlanta’s success the past two seasons. He first took the job on an interim basis in May of 2016 after the Braves parted ways with Fredi Gonzalez. Snitker had the interim tag removed following the season. Despite a losing campaign in 2017, Snitker led the turnaround in 2018, as the Braves went from 72-90 to 90-72 on their way to the NL East title. Atlanta was even better in 2019, winning 97 games and claiming a second straight division crown.
“Winning consecutive division titles illustrates the leadership and impact of Brian and his staff,” Anthopoulos said of the manager. “We are happy to know they will be leading the Braves through the 2021 season.”
It’s fitting for the Braves to commit to Snitker, as he’s dedicated his entire career to helping the Braves. He’s spent his entire professional career in the Braves organization. He was a player in Atlanta’s farm system for a few years and has had multiple stints on the team’s coaching staff. Snitker has also managed seven different minor league teams, all with the Atlanta farm system. He’s spent most of his life trying to help the Braves win championships, and now he’s close to doing so as the team’s manager.
The only caveat to the Snitker-Anthopoulos era in Atlanta is that the team has lost in the NLDS in each of the past two seasons. The team’s Game 5 loss in the NLDS to the Cardinals last October was particularly disheartening after a 97-win regular season. However, it’s hard to complain about winning back-to-back division titles, especially in the rough and tumble NL East. The Braves should be nothing short of thrilled with the way the last two years have unfolded for them. The best way to continue that and keep pushing toward a World Series title is to keep Snitker and Anthopoulos in place because whatever they’re doing seems to be working.