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NL East: Braves name Snitker manager, add Ron Washington to staff

NL East: Braves name Snitker manager, add Ron Washington to staff

ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Braves named Brian Snitker manager on Tuesday, rewarding him for reversing the team's direction in his role as interim manager this season.

The Braves finished last in the NL East but won 20 of their last 30 games under Snitker, who was named interim manager on May 17 after Fredi Gonzalez was fired. Snitker had a 59-65 record, including 37-35 after the All-Star break.

Despite the strong finish under Snitker, the Braves also interviewed former managers Bud Black and Ron Washington.

Washington was named the Braves' third-base coach and Chuck Hernandez was named pitching coach. Snitker's staff also includes bench coach Terry Pendleton, first base coach Eddie Perez, hitting coach Kevin Seitzer, assistant hitting coach Jose Castro and bullpen coach Marty Reed.

Snitker, 61, was not given much long-term security. He was hired only for the 2017 season with a club option for 2018.

When Snitker, a longtime manager in the Braves' farm system, was named Atlanta's interim manager, it was widely thought the team would look outside the organization for a new skipper to take the team into its first season in new SunTrust Park.

[RELATED: Nationals beat Dodgers to take 2-1 lead in NLDS]

Instead, Snitker won over the players and front office. Atlanta was 9-28 when Gonzalez was fired and appeared bound for 100 losses at 18-46 before it began a dramatic turnaround under Snitker.

"Brian earned this opportunity through his dedication to the Braves and to our players," general manager John Coppolella said in a statement released by the team. "We are excited for the energy and momentum he will bring into SunTrust Park next season."

The 2017 season will mark Snitker's 41st in the Braves organization. He had been the manager at Triple-A Gwinnett before replacing Gonzalez on an interim basis.

Atlanta's strong finish under Snitker, bolstered by the additions of rookie shortstop Dansby Swanson and veteran left fielder Matt Kemp, boosted expectations for next season.

Braves president John Hart said last week the season had been "spiraling out of control" before Snitker "restored order."

Hernandez, 55, was the Braves' minor league pitching coordinator this season, his 31st as a coach. He was the Marlins' pitching coach from 2013-15. The Marlins' 3.71 ERA in 2013 and 3.78 in 2014 were the two best in franchise history.

"He spent the 2016 season working closely with many of our young, talented pitchers who will be such an important part of our future," Coppolella said.

Washington, 64, spent the last two seasons on Oakland's coaching staff after managing the Texas Rangers from 2007 to 2014.

Coppolella said Washington's experience as a manager "will be an asset to everyone on the club. His tireless work ethic, up-beat attitude and tremendously high baseball IQ will benefit our players and our staff."

[RELATED: Nats manager Baker on how he got the nickname 'Dusty']

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Max Scherzer Giving Away Memorabilia For Good Cause

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Max Scherzer Giving Away Memorabilia For Good Cause

By Ryan Wormeli

Max Scherzer is the ace of the Nationals staff, a fan favorite, and the 2017 National League Cy Young award winner. He's also a soon-to-be father whose wife, Erica May-Scherzer, once accidentally threw out the jersey he wore when throwing his 2nd career no-hitter. This time around, I'm guessing they talked it over first before deciding to sell some of his memorabilia garage-style for a new fundraiser.

We don't have any more information about the fundraiser yet, but May-Scherzer posted some photos on Twitter this afternoon. 

And in case you're wondering, no, the Scherzer family cat featured in one of the pictures isn't for sale (we assume). Plus, even if they were willing to part with their cat, considering Scherzer is on a contract worth over $200 Million, their price would probably be pretty steep. How much would you pay to adopt the cat of a 3-time Cy Young winner?

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Why Bryce Harper would be a bargain at $500 million

Why Bryce Harper would be a bargain at $500 million

$500 million.

That number is so hard to wrap your brain around, but it's a number a lot of professional baseball players may soon start seeing on their contracts.

One player who could be the first to see that amount within the next year is Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper.

Harper will become a free agent in 2018 and people are already projecting his market value at close to $500 million, if not more.

Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton signed a contract back in 2014 for 13 years, $325 million, holding the league record.

For Fancy Stats writer Neil Greenberg, $500 million is a bargain for someone of Harper's caliber.

"Harper is every bit as good [as Stanton] but he's also young," Greenberg told the Sports Junkies Friday.

"I mean, we don't see a player that's as good as Harper, that's as young a Harper, hit the market almost ever I want to say. You look at how many years of his prime he has left and then even if you start to give him just the typical aging curb off of that prime, he's probably worth close to 570 million dollars starting from 2019 and going forward ten years. And that includes also the price of free agency going up and other factors."

Harper, who is only 25 years-old, brings more to a team than just talent. He's one of the most recognizable figures in baseball, bringing tremendous marketing opportunities to an organization. Greenberg dove deeper into how that will increase his market value.

"And that's just for the on-the-field product. You talk about all the marketing that's done around Bryce Harper [and] what he does for the game. In my opinion, and based on the numbers that I saw, he's a bargain at $500 million."

Don't we all wish someone would say $500 million is a bargain for us?

After crunching the numbers, the biggest takeaway for Greenberg is the return on investment the Nationals have gotten out of Harper.

"Like if you look at his wins above replacement throughout his career, he's given you 200 million dollars in value for 21 million dollars in cash and he's due what another 26 or 27 million this year. I mean he's already given you an amazing return on investment."

"So, if you're the Nationals having - benefited from that - you know you have a little bit of, I guess, wiggle room in terms of maybe you're paying a little bit for past performance 'cause, you know, when a player is on arbitration in their early years they don't really get paid that much."

The Nationals still have Harper for one more season and many feel they need to make him an offer sooner than later. Whenever and whoever he gets an offer from, it's going to be a nice pay day for him.