Major League Baseball penalizes Braves for global spending violations

Furious Braves fans dig up old Twitter Q&A to blast ex-GM after MLB sanctions

John Coppolella (far left) resigned as Atlanta's general manager last month. John Coppolella, the former general manager whose resignation kicked off this entire process in public, was banned from Major League Baseball for life.

The investigation found the franchise "circumvented global signing rules from 2015 to 2017". Former Braves Special Assistant Gordon Blakeley, the team's global scouting chief, was suspended from performing services for any team for one year.

Nine players from the Braves' 2015-16 signing class, the majority of whom received bonuses in excess of $1 million, will be declared free agents, as will three players from the most recent class. Atlanta also will lose a draft pick next June for trying to induce a player this year with off-the-books perks, sources told Yahoo Sports.

The 13 players who are now free to leave the team include talented 17-year-old Venezuelan prospect Kevin Maitan.

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. "For that, we apologize".

Coppolella: After the Braves were severely punished, it was unlikely Coppolella was ever going to get a job in baseball again.

While the Braves' future under new general manager Alex Anthopoulos remains bright due to their cache of prospects, the stain of improprieties on an organization that long prided itself on running its operations the right way is indelible.

Braves president of baseball operations John Hart also stepped down as an indirect result of the invetigation.

What the Braves did in 2015, according to a statement from Commissioner Rob Manfred, was to evade the pool limits by saying the prospects had signed for less than what the Braves actually paid.

Manfred said he is confident the Braves management team led by McGuirk, Anthopoulos and vice chairman John Schuerholz "have and will put in place procedures to ensure that this type of conduct never occurs again and which will allow the club to emerge from this hard period as the strong and respected franchise that it has always been".

The Braves braced fans for the sanctions when team chairman Terry McGuirk apologized to fans "on behalf of the entire Braves family" for the rules violations at the November 13 news conference to introduce Anthopoulos.

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