Thursday, 18 January, 2018

Major League Baseball hits Braves with severe sanctions for violating signing rules

Aug 25 2015 Atlanta GA USA Detailed view of Atlanta Braves hat and glove in the dugout before a game against the Colorado Rockies at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Elias Hubbard | 22 November, 2017, 01:25

John Coppolella (far left) resigned as Atlanta's general manager last month.

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred hit the Atlanta Braves with heavy sanctions, including the loss of nine players, on Tuesday for rules violations committed by the team in the global player market.

Coppolella and Gordon Blakeley, the Braves' top global scout, resigned the day after the regular season ended as MLB's investigation became public knowledge. 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 global amateur prospect.

As a result, the Braves signed nine players - Juan Contreras, Yefri del Rosario, Abrahan Gutierrez, Kevin Maitan, Juan Carlos Negret, Yenci Pena, Yunior Severino, Livan Soto and Guillermo Zunigo - during the 2016-17 period, who "would have been unavailable to them had the Club accurately accounted for its signings during the 2015-16 signing period", noted Manfred.

Coppolella lasted only two seasons as Atlanta's GM before being forced to resign last month after Major League Baseball announced its investigation.

Manfred released a statement Tuesday, detailing the results of Major League Baseball's investigation into the Braves' questionable tactics on the global player market.

Waters will remain with the Braves, but 12 prospects are going to be free agents and able to sign with any of the other 29 teams.

Manfred also prohibited the team from signing any global player for more than $10,000 once the 2019-20 period rolls around; the following year, the organization will be reduced 50 percent on its spending limit.

Coppolella was replaced as general manager by Alex Anthopoulos, who held the same position with the Toronto Blue Jays between 2009 and 2015.

"I intend to discipline other Braves' International Baseball Operations employees who participated in the misconduct after the completion of our internal procedures", Manfred said in a statement. He also said the Braves "cooperated throughout the investigation".

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