MLB drops death penalty on Braves, bans John Coppolella for life
MLB has hit the Atlanta Braves with their version of the death penalty as punishment for the franchise’s violations over the past few years. The punishments are so severe that it’s clear the league wanted to make an example out of the Braves as a warning to clubs not to do anything similar in the future.
The Braves were forced to give up 12 prospects they had signed for an excess of $20 million because of their rule violations. Former GM John Coppolella, who resigned in September after word of the investigation emerged, has been banned for life. Former special assistant Gordon Blakely has been suspended a year. The team’s ability to sign players in Latin America over the next few years has been severely restricted. They also lost a draft pick in 2018.
As penalty for bundling bonuses and negotiating deals for outside pay/compensation, the Braves are losing Kevin Maitan, Juan Contreras, Yefri del Rosario, Abrahan Gutierrez, Juan Carlos Negret, Yenci Pena, Yunior Severino, Livan Soto and Guillermo Zuniga, who will now be free agents. They also will not be allowed to sign Robert Puason, a prospect for whom they had reached a deal.
The Braves were found to have offered impermissible benefits to draft picks as well in order to circumvent their limited signing bonus pool. They were penalized a third-round pick in 2018 as a result.
Here’s the full press release from MLB on the subject:
Glad to see MLB has added former #Braves GM John Coppolella to the permanently ineligible list. Former Braves special assistant Gordon Blakeley escaped with only a one-year suspension. pic.twitter.com/rPgnFgmhbx
— Jose de Jesus Ortiz (@OrtizKicks) November 21, 2017