ATLANTA — Coming off a third straight NL East title and getting to within one win of a spot in the World Series, the Atlanta Braves have extended the contract of manager Brian Snitker through the 2023 season.
The extension announced Friday includes a club option for 2024.
The 65-year-old Snitker took over the Braves on an interim basis in 2016 when the club was in the midst of a massive rebuilding job.
After going 72-90 in his first full season, Atlanta won the first of its three straight division titles in 2018.
“It feels good,” Snitker said after Friday’s spring training workout in North Port, Florida. “I’m not one that worries about that kind of thing, honestly. If this was going to be my last year or whatever, I would give it everything I’ve got. But it’s nice, obviously, that someone thinks enough of you to extend that kind of package.”
He has been with the Braves organization for 45 years as a player, coach and manager — most in the minor leagues — after signing with the club as an undrafted free agent in 1977.
He’s now the fourth-oldest manager in the majors behind Tony La Russa of the Chicago White Sox, Houston’s Dusty Baker, and Joe Maddon of the Los Angeles Angels.
Despite the age gap leading one of baseball’s most exciting young rosters, a group that includes 20-somethings Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies and Mike Soroka, Snitker has meshed well with his players while adapting to the analytics-driven style pushed by general manager Alex Anthopoulos.
“It’s refreshing being around all these guys,” Snitker said. “They keep keep me young and feeling good and wanting to come back. I stay energized from these players. And knowing and respecting how they go about it, and appreciating what they do, is a big thing that allows them to relax and just enjoy what they’re doing.”
Last season, the Braves won a postseason series for the first time since 2001, beating Cincinnati in the wild-card round and Miami in the division series before losing to the eventual World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers in an NL Championship Series that went to seven games.
Atlanta led the series 3-1 before the Dodgers rallied to win the final three games.
“I am thrilled that Brian will continue to lead our club on the field and in the clubhouse,” Anthopoulos said in a statement. “Three consecutive division titles speak to the impact of Brian and his staff, and we are pleased that he will continue to guide our club through 2023.”
Snitker, who was voted NL Manager of the Year in 2018, has an overall record of 353-317 (.527), which makes him the fourth-winningest manager since the franchise relocated to Atlanta in 1966. He trails Bobby Cox (2,058), Fredi Gonzalez (432) and Lum Harris (379).