Major League Baseball drops hammer on Braves' scandal: prospect loss, lifetime ban

Doug Mendoza
November 22, 2017

Former Braves GM John Coppolella, who resigned from the position in October after MLB opened an investigation into his team's global signing practices, has been hammered the hardest, teceiving a lifetime ban from the sport for his role in the "violations of Major League Rules", commissioner Robert Manfred said in a statement Tuesday.

Infielder Kevin Maitan, a 17-year-old Venezuelan that the Braves invested upwards of $4 million in signing, was one of 12 Atlanta prospects immediately declared a free agent by the league. Former Braves Special Assistant Gordon Blakeley will be suspended for a period of one year, effective immediately, and may not perform services for any MLB Club during his suspension.

Manfred also announced 12 players the Braves signed illegally during the 2015-17 worldwide free-agent period have been released from their contracts, making them eligible to sign with any team.

Major League Baseball has confirmed in a statement that the Braves will lose the rights to shortstop prospect Kevin Maitan and 12 other global signees. They will need to find a new agent than the one who negotiated their deals with the Braves, Yahoo Sports reported. Manfred also said Major League Baseball intends to discipline other members of the Braves' front office and explore "appropriate consequences" for the player representatives involved in the scheme.

The Braves will also lose a third-round pick in the 2018 draft (penalty for the Waters infraction), and their global signing bonus money will be drastically reduced through July 2021.

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The 12 prospects are free to sign with any other team.

The investigation found the franchise "circumvented global signing rules from 2015 to 2017".

The sanctions deal a significant blow to a farm system considered by many the best in baseball.

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.

Other reports by GizPress

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