Braves agree to terms on 2-year extension with manager Brian Snitker

ATLANTA — As he basks in agreeing to a two-year contract extension to remain as Braves manager, Brian Snitker says he can’t help but reflect on the journey.

He thinks about the long bus rides in his decades in the minor leagues, flat tires and nights spent in machine sheds in the middle of nowhere. He thinks about the strain it put on his family, missed baseball games and the likes.

He recalls his wife, calling him in hysterics when the couple’s baby daughter, Erin, had cockroaches crawling on her in their Durham, N.C., apartment.

“Just everything you’ve gone through … that whole journey… I do sit down sometimes and think ‘Man, who’d you get through that?” Snitker said. “And you get here, and it’s kind of worth it.”

The Braves announced Monday that Snitker agreed to an extension to remain the organization’s manager through the 2020 season following a 90-win season and a 2018 National League East championship run, an outcome propelling his Manager of the Year consideration. The extension comes with a 2021 club option.

“I feel really good about not anything other than the fact that I get to have an opportunity to stay around here longer and be a part of this,” Snitker said. “I really like where we’re going. I love everything about what’s going on here. … the whole thing is really solid and it’s got that vibe of what I remember from years ago.”

A franchise staple over the past 40-plus years, Snitker will now be entrusted with leading a young and talented group from playoff upstarts to World Series contenders.

Snitker, 62, owns a 221-227 career record after taking over for Fredi Gonzalez in the middle of the 2016 season, slowly climbing out of the division’s basement to third place in 2017 to this past season’s NL East championship. Only five other managers in franchise history reached the postseason by their second full season.

“What I heard about Snit, ‘Been here a long time, well-liked, solid in-game, connects with players, easy to work with,’ (he was) kind of as advertised,” Anthopoulos said. “… He can be tough when he needs to be tough or he can put his arm around you when he needs to. He’s got trust.”

Most notably from his players, including star first baseman Freddie Freeman, who openly lobbied for him to manage beyond 2018 following his success on an expiring contract. Freeman and others did the same last week in moments after the Braves were eliminated from NL Division Series by the Dodgers.

Despite that support, Snitker said “I’ve been around long enough to know that you’r e never guaranteed tomorrow in this business. “I felt pretty good about it. In conversations with (general manager) Alex (Anthopoulos) and staff and in meetings that we had, I felt confidence that based on our year and the progression that we made, that I’d be asked back.”

Snitker noted this was just the second two-year contract he’s had in his four decades with the organization. The first came when Bobby Cox was hired as general manager in 1985.

“It does feel good … never having (a two-year deal) here (as manager),” Snitker said. “It does give you a sense of accomplishment, I guess. I feel really good about it. ”

The majority of Snitker’s coaching staff will return intact — an outcome he lobbied for following the team’s 3-1 NLDS loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Pitching coach Chuck Hernandez was the only significant departure from the group, but bench coach Walt Weiss, hitting coach Kevin Seitzer and base coaches Eric Young Sr. and Ron Washington will each return on two-year contracts.