Ex-Braves GM banned for life by MLB; Atlanta loses prospects

Georgia Reed
November 24, 2017

Former Atlanta Braves General Manager John Coppolella was banned from working in professional baseball for life Tuesday over rule violations the club committed in signing global players.

The Braves were finally punished by Major League Baseball for the scope of their breaking of global free agency rules, and it's a whole lot to take in at once.

The 12 prospects are free to sign with any other team.

"As we expressed last week, our organization has not lived up to the standard our fans expect from us and that we expect from ourselves.", the team's statement said. They will need to find a new agent than the one who negotiated their deals with the Braves, Yahoo Sports reported.

In handing down the punishment, the league announced that Braves will forfeit rights to 13 worldwide prospects, will be prohibited from signing any global player for more than $10,000 during the 2019-20 signing period and are restricted from signing players in the next two signing periods for contracts with bonuses greater than $300,000. Come 2020-21, the Braves will lose half their signing-bonus pool, which is expected to be $4.75 million.

The Braves also suffered penalties for circumventing global signing rules in recent years.

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The Braves will also lose a third-round pick in the 2018 draft (penalty for the Waters infraction), and their worldwide signing bonus money will be drastically reduced through July 2021. He will remain with Atlanta.

Atlanta finished third in the National League East this season with a 72-90 record.

Coppolella was served with MLB's ultimate punishment, and his special assistant during his Braves' tenure, Gordon Blakeley, was banned from the game for a year. The punishment to the Red Sox was the initial message, and since that apparently wasn't clear enough, they just dismantled the Braves' front office and farm system.

Alex Anthopoulos is the team's new general manager.

"Today, Major League Baseball informed the Atlanta Braves organization of sanctions being levied as a result of their investigation", the team said. And the severity of the penalties go beyond merely losing players and facing restrictions going forward: Between the signing bonuses and penalties for exceeding their bonus pool, the Braves will have paid well over $20 million to players who no longer are part of their organization. While evaluators' opinions of him are more divided than they were at his signing - seen as a sure thing at the time, Maitan did not impress in rookie ball this year, with one scout saying he was out of shape and didn't look like a prospect - he'll nearly certainly receive a significant seven-figure bonus on top of the millions Atlanta paid him to sign.

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