On episode 35 of Knockahoma Nation Atlanta Braves Podcast, The punishment is here, how do you like your spanking? Josh and Ken get in a full on fight about the Hall of Fame. Ken and Cynthia talk about getting banned from baseball. And Braves Options Guy gives us a little hope.
Before I delve into my extremely deep thoughts here, let me get this out of the way. I’ve said this publicly on the podcast, I’ve said it all over social media, and I’ve even made really immature videos about it for the Knockahoma Nation Twitter account, like this one here. I think the Braves could have found a better manager than Brian Snitker.
But this being said – The Atlanta Braves did not suck in 2017 because Brian Snitker was their manager. And for Braves fans to put all of their anger about 2017 onto the shoulders of Snitker is laughable.
Listen, Brian Snitker made some dumb decisions. He probably shouldn’t have let Emilio Bonifacio near a baseball diamond. But he wasn’t the one who put Emilio on the baseball team. Yes, he advocated for Bonifacio, but at the time it actually made sense. For a utility/bench guy, Emilio looked good in AAA, and by all accounts was a good clubhouse guy, so the manager liked him. Makes sense.
The thing about Brian Snitker is this – He plays ballplayers who are on his baseball team based on their role. So if you’re mad about that, try giving him better baseball players to work with. If your role is a utility guy or a bench bat, then that’s how Brian Snitker is going to use you. What I’m saying is – Brian Snitker’s only as good as the baseball players on his baseball team. Much like many other managers.
The funniest complaint I continue to hear about Brian Snitker is how terrible his bullpen management is. A couple of things here. First of all, almost every manager across baseball cannot mange a bullpen these days. And secondly, Brian Snitker was given a terrible bullpen.
“But Josh. He gave over 100 IP to two guys who had a +5.00 ERA.” Correct. Said “pitchers” with an ERA over 5.00 should not have been on the baseball team.
He did use Eric O’Flaherty in completely wrong situations over and over again. I’ll give you that. But at the end of the day, the season was a joke. So, who cares?
The 2017 Atlanta Braves sucked because they had really shitty players and because several of their non-shitty players took it upon themselves to try their hand at being really shitty.
It wasn’t Brian Snitker’s fault that he was given a terrible bullpen. It wasn’t Brian Snitker’s fault that Dansby Swanson couldn’t hit sliders. It wasn’t Brian Snitker’s fault that Julio Teheran forgot how to play baseball. It wasn’t Brian Snitker’s fault that Folty sucked, that Bartolo sucked and that Jaime Garcia sucked. It wasn’t his fault that Kemp couldn’t stay healthy.
Is Brian Snitker a terrible manager? He very well may be, and I’ll probably complain about some of his moves during the season. But I’ll reserve serious judgement on the guy until he’s actually given a formidable baseball team.
Towards the end of the season Atlanta Braves fans saw the very beginnings of an influx of young pitching talent with guys like Lucas Sims, Luiz Gohara, Max Fried. Between this type of talent and any newly acquired talent the Braves may get this off-season, perhaps we’ll actually get a logical gauge on whether or not Brian Snitker can manage a baseball team.
Until then, please shut up.
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Former Auburn Tiger, from Pensacola, FL, went to high school in Mobile, brought to Toronto by Alex Anthopoulus. Could it happen? Should it happen? What about Austin Riley? What about Camargo?
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, you knuckleheads. It’s hot take season. And, when it’s hot take season, us baseball fans just can’t contain our hot takes. It’s what we do and it’s what we have done for over a century.
I first heard this idea brought up by the boys over at ChopCast. At first, I thought it was a bit wild. But that was before Alex Anthopoulos was announced as the new GM for the Atlanta Braves.
Let me first say this about Anthoploulus. He’s not perfect and he hasn’t won every trade. But like I said a few podcasts ago, some of the best GMs in baseball win AND lose trades. Anthopoulos has won and lost some trades. He’s probably won more than he’s lost. Plus, his drafting skills seem to be excellent.
Anthopoulos traded some amazing talent for an older R.A. Dickey, but he also traded peanuts for Josh Donaldson and signed Bautista and Encarnacion. And let’s face it – Alex Anthopoulos brought the Blue Jays from being completely irrelevant to being one of the best attended teams in MLB. This being said, could he go after Josh Donaldson?
But what about Austin Riley?
I think the Atlanta Braves love Austin Riley. In fact, they turned down a Chris Sale trade because the White Sox wanted Austin Riley. Now, that love for Riley could end up being different with a new guy in charge, with no emotional attachment to these players. But even if the Braves love Riley like I believe they do, and despite how great he’s been in the AFL, and in double-A this past season, he’s still at the very least one year away from MLB.
Donaldson could bridge that one-year gap. But he certainly wouldn’t be cheap.
If Anthopoulos wants to get aggressive, he could go after Donaldson for one year, and then cross the bridge of a possible extension when it gets here. Now, if Anthopoulos deems 2018 as yet another re-building year, then sure, he might not go to such drastic measures getting a guy like Donaldson. I’m a believer in Johan Camargo, and as it sits now, I believe Camargo to be the best third-base option on the team currently. That certainly wouldn’t be the end of the world for the Atlanta Braves.
Whether it’s landing Donaldson or not, I believe Atlanta Braves fans could be in for a wild and interesting ride this off-season. Sometimes it’s a good thing for a new guy (not just any new guy in this case, an extremely qualified new guy) to come in, with no attachment to any players, and do what’s best for the future.
Since 2015 Josh Donaldson has boasted the highest wRC+ (153) and the second most homers (111) among MLB third basemen. This 30-year-old seems to be in the prime of his career. Whether the Blue Jays retain him, or whether he ends up somewhere else, someone will be lucky to have him.