While much of the attention was rightfully on new Braves manager Brian Snitker last week, it was a relatively under-the-radar hire that created a little controversy.
Ron Washington was announced as the new third base coach of the Braves Tuesday morning – the same Ron Washington who was believed to be interviewing for the managerial role. Washington even told the San Jose Mercury News that he was interviewing for the open manager’s slot, not the role of a third base coach.
“I thought my interview was good to the point I got that I had the (manager’s) job, no doubt in my mind,” he told the Mercury News. “But you never know what the other side is thinking and how it will go. They offered me a different job in the organization.”
(Also read: Braves hire Brian Snitker as full-time manager)
Washington said he’s happy with his new job in Atlanta, especially because it shortens the trip home to New Orleans to see his family. He was the third base coach for the Oakland Athletics prior to the hire.
But here’s where it gets really weird: the Braves asked the A’s front office if they could interview Washington for the managerial vacancy, to which they accepted, according to NBC Sports. Instead, the Braves hired him for the same position he held in Oakland, and the NBC Sports report said teams don’t usually grant permission for an interview if it’s a lateral move. In other words, there could be some trust issues between the Braves and the rest of the league the next time they do job interviews.
Perhaps there’s a reason why the Braves pulled out every trick in the book to lure Washington to Atlanta. With the opening of SunTrust Park looming, the Braves know they’ll need to make a good first impression on the field, and if Snitker’s shot at being the full-time manager falls flat on its face, they just might pull the plug quickly.
If that happens, I’d bet Washington will be their next interim, or even full-time, manager. He led the Texas Rangers for eight seasons, and that included two trips to the World Series (they lost both). He knows what it takes to lead a team, and if things go south at SunTrust, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Braves’ front office make a quick move.Follow @Sean_Breslin