With Fredi Gonzalez leaving the Braves to become the Manager of the Florida Marlins, it was obvious there would be some changes on the Braves coaching staff. But in the biggest shakeup since the winter of 1998-99, the Braves announced three new additions to Bobby Cox's staff Tuesday afternoon.
Two longtime coaches are also leaving, as Pat Corrales mutually agreed with the club to step down as bench coach, and Bobby Dews is being re-assigned within the organization. Brian Snitker, last year's manager in Richmond, will replace Gonzalez as the third base coach. Chino Cadahia, longtime minor league field coordinator, will take over as Cox's bench coach. And former Braves' backup catcher Eddie Perez will replace Dews as the bullpen coach.
Corrales was on the Atlanta coaching staff since Cox returned to the dugout in June of 1990. He spent nine seasons as Atlanta's first base coach, and he's been the bench coach the last eight seasons. The 65-year-old Corrales has been a big league manager three different times: Texas (1978-1980), Philadelphia (1982-1983), and Cleveland (1983-1987).
Dews has been with the Braves' organization since 1975. He was first on Cox's staff in the late 70s, and after Cox was fired following the 1981 season, Dews returned to the minor leagues. He managed in Durham in 1982, Savannah (AA) in 1983, and in Greenville (AA) and Richmond (AAA) in 1984. Then he rejoined the big league staff as first base coach under Manager Eddie Haas in 1985. Dews was a roving catching instructor for two years before joining the front office as an assistant to Hank Aaron, who was the Braves' Farm Director.
After replacing Aaron as Farm Director in 1990, Dews became the Minor League Field Coordinator in 1991, a job he held for six years before returning to Cox's staff before the 1997 season as third base coach. He switched jobs with Ned Yost two years later, becoming the bullpen coach. Dews will remain in the organization as an advisor, spending time with the club when it's home in Atlanta, and also on the road with minor league clubs working on player evaluation.
Snitker has been with the Braves since 1977 as a player, coach, or minor league manager. He was signed as a free agent out of college and spent four years as a minor league catcher. He then started his coaching career in 1981 and managed the first time in Anderson in 1982. He was previously on the big league staff as the Atlanta bullpen coach in 1985 and from 1988-1990.
The 50-year-old Snitker has spent 17 seasons as a minor league manager in the Braves' organization and has a record of 1140 wins and 1145 losses. He won the Carolina League title in 1999 and 2000, also Snitker has three Manager of the Year awards (1997 in Macon, 1999 in Myrtle Beach, and 2000 in Myrtle Beach). He has managed all of the Braves‘ young players that now make up the core of the team, including Brian McCann, Jeff Francoeur, and Chuck James.
Snitker has a great relationship with his players; he's a great communicator. Many believe he could follow in Gonzalez's footsteps and one day be a major league manager.
Cadahia has been the Braves' Minor League Field Coordinator since 1998, after spending two seasons as the team's roving minor league catching instructor. In that job, Cadahia ran spring training and coordinated all instruction down on the farm. He came to Atlanta from the Rangers, where he spent 12 seasons as a pitching coach and manager in their minor league system. He is credited with helping Pudge Rodriguez become one of the best catchers of all time.
In his role, Cadahia has helped many of the young players that have graduated to Atlanta. He's worked with Brian McCann a great deal. Cadahia has a great personality and will definitely loosen up the clubhouse.
Perez spent six years as Atlanta's backup catcher to Javier Lopez. The Braves traded him to Cleveland before the 2002 season, and he then played the 2003 season in Milwaukee before returning to Atlanta before the 2004 season. But shoulder trouble limited his action the last two and a half seasons, and he spent this past season in AA Mississippi as a player/coach.
The last time the Braves had this many changes to the coaching staff was prior to the 1999 season when Glenn Hubbard joined the staff and former Rockies' Manager Don Baylor replaced Clarence Jones as the hitting coach. Also that winter Dews and Yost switched jobs and Corrales replaced Jim Beauchamp as the bench coach.
Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional scouting and player development philosophies. He can also be heard regularly on the Braves Radio Network. Email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Braves shake up coaching staff
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