Braves exercise team option, retain manager Brian Snitker for 2018

Manager Brian Snitker will be back with the Atlanta Braves in 2018, as the team exercised its option Thursday.

The decision to retain Snitker came after the Braves finished third in the NL East at 72-90, a small improvement from 68 wins in 2016.

Snitker has been with the organization since Hank Aaron hired him as a roving instructor in 1981.

"Brian is a lifelong Brave who has earned the respect and admiration of our players, staff and front office," Braves president John Hart said in a statement. "He has devoted his last 42 years to this organization and has proven that he is dedicated to guiding the team through this transition period. We are excited to have him back in the dugout to lead our club next season."

The improvement this season was not as substantial as Snitker and the Braves had hoped. The Braves were held back by a mix of young pitchers not yet ready to succeed in the majors and such veterans as Bartolo Colon and Jaime Garcia, who mostly struggled after being signed as one-year fill-ins.

Snitker, who will turn 62 on Oct. 17, took over as interim manager in May 2016, and the interim label was removed after that season. He has a 126-146 record with the Braves.

The team said that decisions on the rest of the coaching staff would be made in the coming weeks.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.