Atlanta Braves bench coach Terry Pendleton and first base coach Eddie Perez will not return to the team in their current roles according to sources within the team.
The coaching decisions were made in talks with manager Brian Snitker and president of baseball operations John Hart. Hart has served as the team’s acting general manager since the resignation of John Coppolella amid a Major League Baseball investigation.
Pendleton, 57, was with the Braves as a coach for 15 years, serving on the staffs of three managers — Bobby Cox, Fredi Gonzalez and Brian Snitker. The 1991 National League MVP in his first of 4½ seasons as an Atlanta player, he returned to the team as hitting coach from 2002-10. Pendleton then coached first base before moving to the bench when Snitker was named interim manager in May 2015.
“The team is looking for a bench coach with previous managing experience to help Snitker,” a team source said. “They also want somebody who can process the analytics and use that help inform decisions. Terry is a good man and valuable, but we need a bench coach who can provide Snit with a different level of assistance.”
In that vein, it has been confirmed that Walt Weiss has been a primary target of the Braves’ search for a bench coach. Weiss, 53, was the manager of the Colorado Rockies for four seasons, compiling a 283-365 record before stepping down after the 2015 season.
“Walt knows the game and is an even better man,” said Colorado center fielder Charlie Blackmon, the former Georgia Tech star who was with the Rockies through the length of Weiss’ tenure. “He’d be an asset anywhere he goes. I hope he gets another shot in a leadership role. That guy gets it.”
Weiss is no stranger to the Braves, finishing his 14-year playing career in Atlanta from 1998-2000. He earned his only trip to the All-Star game as a Brave in ’98.
Perez, 49, spent 11 years on the Braves’ coaching staff and a total of 30 years in the organization. Signed as a 19-year-old out of Venezuela in 1987, he spent at least part of nine major league seasons in Atlanta and was the MVP of the 1999 National League Championship Series.
Perez and Pendleton served as the last ties to Cox’s managerial tenure. They are expected to remain with the organization in different roles.
According to a team source, Oakland Athletics vice president Billy Beane contacted the Braves about third base coach Ron Washington about a return to the A’s franchise and was told that Washington was “untouchable.” It is also expected that Chuck Hernandez will return as pitching coach, for his work with the Braves’ young pitchers.
The Braves have not officially announced any coaching changes, likely waiting until this weekend or even after the World Series. Major League Baseball prefers teams not make announcements that take attention away from the postseason.