Braves stripped of 13 prospects, Coppolella banned for life

Braves stripped of 13 prospects, Coppolella banned for life

Braves stripped of 13 prospects, Coppolella banned for life

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.

In an unprecedented punishment, the Major League Baseball also said it would dock the Braves a third-round pick in next year's amateur draft, while barring the team from signing any worldwide player for more than US$10,000 in the 2019-2020 window. The most heralded among them, Venezuelan shortstop Kevin Maitan, 17, signed for $4.25 million in 2016, when he was ranked by Baseball America as the top worldwide amateur prospect.

Former Braves special assistant Gordon Blakeley was also suspended for a year, with Manfred saying, "I intend to discipline other Braves' International Baseball Operations employees who particpated in the misconduct after the completion of our internal procedures".

The Dodgers, Angels and other teams have exceeded their bonus pools for signing global amateurs at various times, well aware that the result would be a severe reduction on what they could offer worldwide amateurs for the subsequent two years. Each of the players will be forced to use an agent different than the buscon, or trainer, who negotiated their original deals. The investigation also found the Braves offered impermissible benefits to a player selected in the First-Year Player Draft, persuading said player to sign for a lower amount. Finally, the team will be banned from signing 14-year-old Robert Puason after illegally reaching an agreement. Come 2020-21, the Braves will lose half their signing-bonus pool, which is expected to be $4.75 million.


The loss of the draft pick, the global sanctions and the free agency of the dozen players - including catcher Abrahan Gutierrez, who received a $3.5 million signing bonus, pitcher Juan Contreras and third basemen Yenci Pena, each of whom received more than $1 million to sign, and Korean shortstop Ji-hwan Bae, a 2017 signee - will erode the organizational depth Atlanta had fostered during its rebuild.

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

Rob Manfred and the league came down hard on the Braves, stripping them off several high-profile prospects and limiting their ability to spend on the global market for the next two years.

Lo and behold, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has since released an official statement while the Braves will pay a hefty price for such infractions. The Braves were simply the ones caught. Maitan is the biggest name in the group and is expected to receive the most interest from other teams. They lost 12 prospects, will be restricted in signing periods in the short-term future, and are also going to lose out in the draft.

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