Major League Baseball has finally released the details of punishment handed down to the Atlanta Braves for numerous violations under former GM John Coppolella. The penalties which we now know about are potentially crippling to say the least. MLB has stripped Atlanta of a number of international prospects while imposing limitations in the future. According to Jeff Passan, the total number of players stripped from the Braves organization is 12, including elite prospect Kevin Maitan.
BREAKING: Star prospect Kevin Maitan is one of 12 Atlanta Braves minor leaguers expected to be declared a free agent after league investigation, sources tell Yahoo Sports. In addition, Braves will suffer significant restrictions in 2019-20 and 2020-21 international FA classes.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 21, 2017
Atlanta will also lose a third-round draft pick in the 2018 domestic draft, but one of the biggest penalties from the investigation is that Coppolella has received a lifetime ban from MLB. Ken Rosenthal shared that MLB has confirmed the ban.
MLB confirms details of story by @JeffPassan on Braves penalties – loss of 12 int’l signees, etc. Coppolella banned for life. Blakeley receives one-year suspension. Other Braves’ International Baseball Ops employees to be disciplined.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 21, 2017
John Coppolella Banned from MLB
Time with Atlanta
Coppolella was promoted to Atlanta’s Assistant GM in 2012 and worked with Frank Wren until Wren was let go in 2014. John Hart was then hired as president of baseball operations. For the 2014 offseason, Hart oversaw most of the transactions for Atlanta with Coppolella heavily involved. Following the 2015 season, Coppolella was promoted to GM.
He set out to improve Atlanta’s farm system and quickly made a name for himself with a number of aggressive trades. Under his watch, Coppolella traded shortstop Andrelton Simmons while acquiring a number of young talents, including Ender Inciarte, Dansby Swanson, Sean Newcomb, Alex Jackson, Luiz Gohara, and others. He quickly turned Atlanta’s system from one of the worst in the league into one of the best.
Unfortunately, that system has now taken a serious hit as a result of these violations. Coppolella resigned amidst MLB’s investigation and Atlanta has since signed Alex Anthopoulos as GM and Executive Vice President. Anthopoulos is widely regarded as a strong hire, but he will face a tough task in restoring order to a team that was already rebuilding.
The decision to declare 12 prospects free agents and to ban a former GM is certainly unprecedented action. It shows, however, that MLB clearly was intent on sending a message to the other teams in baseball.
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