Former Atlanta Braves GM John Coppolella Banned from MLB

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 25: An Atlanta Braves batting helmet in dugout before a game against the New York Mets at Citi Field on September 25, 2017 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

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.

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.

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 InciarteDansby SwansonSean NewcombAlex JacksonLuiz 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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