Major League Baseball drops death penalty on Braves, bans John Coppolella for life
23 November, 2017, 01:56 | Author: Shannon Newton
Major League Baseball is expected to hammer the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday for circumventing rules governing the signing of global amateurs, declaring 12 minor league players, including vaunted prospect Kevin Maitan, free agents as part of sweeping penalties against the organization, sources familiar with the situation told Yahoo Sports.
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 global player for more than US$10,000 in the 2019-2020 window.
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.
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The biggest name is the 17-year-old Maitan, a switch-hitting shortstop from Venezuela who signed for $4.25 million and was one of the most highly touted prospects from Latin America in the last decade.
Atlanta, limited to spending a maximum of $300,000 for a player in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 signing periods, will face severe penalties in the two periods thereafter, according to sources.
Former Braves Special Assistant Gordon Blakeley, the team's global scouting chief, was suspended from performing services for any team for one year.
The investigation found the franchise "circumvented worldwide signing rules from 2015 to 2017". He will remain with Atlanta.
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.
Manfred said MLB's investigation determined the Braves funneled extra signing bonus money to five players in 2015-16 by giving the funds first to another player considered a foreign professional under baseball's rules and having the money redistributed to the other five. 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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The Braves released a statement on the matter, accepting the punishment handed down to them by the league.
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