Braves extend contracts of Anthopoulos, Snitker

The Braves made significant off-the-field moves with the promotion and extension of Alex Anthopoulos and the extension of manager Brian Snitker and his coaching staff, the team announced Monday.

Anthopoulos will be president, baseball operations and general manger and his contract has been extended through 2024. He will continue to report to chairman Terry McGuirk.

Snitker and his staff have been extended through 2021.

“I am very pleased that Alex will be leading the Atlanta Braves’ baseball operations for years to come,” McGuirk said in a statement. “Since he joined the organization, Alex has continued the winning tradition that Braves fans have come to expect.”

Anthopoulos, 42, joined the organization in November 2017 as executive vice president and general manager. The Braves have won consecutive National League East titles under his guidance.

Once the wunderkind GM in Toronto from 2009-15, Anthopoulos spent the ensuing two seasons in the Dodgers’ front office before taking the Braves job. At the time, the organization was in a state of flux, awaiting the formal MLB punishment for infractions committed by the previous regime. But Anthopoulos also assumed one of baseball’s best farm systems, headlined by star outfielder Ronald Acuna.

That young nucleus has blossomed across the past two seasons. Anthopoulos has complemented the core with trades and free-agent signings, including crucial additions in Josh Donaldson, Charlie Culberson, Anibal Sanchez, Matt Joyce, Dallas Keuchel, Josh Tomlin, Mark Melancon, Shane Greene and Adeiny Hechavarria, among others.

To this point, he’s avoided longer term free-agent commitments and trades involving multiple top prospects, protecting the franchise’s flexibility and farm system moving forward. He did ink Acuna and Ozzie Albies to long-term deals spanning much of their prime years. Those deals, which could max out at $159 million combined, were considered extremely team friendly by the industry.

The Braves are 187-137 under Anthopoulos. Despite graduations, they’ve also maintained a highly regarded minor-league system that was recently ranked fourth best in the majors by Baseball America.

Snitker, 64, enters his fourth season as manager after he was named interim in May 2016 and manager in October. Snitker has spent nearly four decades coaching in the organization, initially hired in 1981 by then-executive Hank Aaron.

The Braves held a club option on Snitker for the 2021 season. This eliminated any uncertainty.

“I wasn’t looking for anything, but Alex called (Sunday), we talked and I thought that was awesome, what he did,” said Snitker, who described the negotiations as easy. “It’s nice (to get it done before the season). You don’t have to worry about it. It’s something - you’re human - it doesn’t weigh on you, but you think about it periodically.

“Now we’re full steam ahead to the 2020 season and that’s behind everybody. The total focus and total mindset can be on going out and winning the division again.”

After overseeing the bulk of two rebuilding seasons, Snitker led the Braves to consecutive division titles the past two seasons. He won NL Manager of the Year in 2018 after the Braves surprised the league and won 90 games. He was again voted a finalist in 2019, when his team won 97 games.

“Winning consecutive division titles illustrates the leadership and impact of Brian and his staff,” Anthopoulos said in a statement. “We are happy to know they will be leading the Braves through the 2021 season.”

Snitker, a Bobby Cox disciple, is known as a players’ coach. He’s considered a pivotal reason the Braves have built a culture conducive to maximizing abilities. The Braves have extracted better-than-expected results from several veterans over the past few seasons, and Snitker’s minor-league background has helped him in developing the team’s crop of youngsters.

“I’m happy for him,” shortstop Dansby Swanson said. “He’s done a great job in getting us to where we are now, helping navigate us through the down years and now, winning the division the last two years with more things to come. He’s done a great job and he’s an awesome guy, so that definitely puts a smile on my face.”

Snitker’s staff includes Sal Fasano (catching coach), Rick Kranitz (pitching coach), Marty Reed (bullpen coach), Kevin Seitzer (hitting coach), Ron Washington (third base coach), Walt Weiss (bench coach), Eric Young Sr. (first base/outfield coach), and Jose Castro (assistant hitting coach).

“It’s great (retaining them) too,” Snitker said. “Alex does things the right way. Those guys (coaches) in there were real excited. And it’s good the players in there know this staff is going to be around for a couple years. What they have invested in those players, in this organization, is a lot and pretty special. It’s a great group. I’m really happy all of them chose to come back and we’ll all stay together.”