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

Arnold Nichols
November 22, 2017

Former Braves general manager John Coppolella has been placed on baseball's permanently ineligible list, and Atlanta will lose one of its top prospects as part of MLB's penalties against the team for rules violations in the global market.

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. Former Braves Special Assistant Gordon Blakeley, the team's global scouting chief, was suspended from performing services for any team for one year.

The Braves had reportedly been signing players by exceeding their bonus pool.

MLB announced Coppolella has been placed on the permanently ineligible list, effectively ending his baseball career, and Blakeley has been suspended from baseball for a year.

The Atlanta Braves were docked 12 players and a draft pick for violating MLB's global prospect signing rules.


An investigation by Major League Baseball concluded that the Braves exceeded their bonus pool money to sign global prospects by offering more money outside of the signing bonuses. Teams have been trying to position themselves to sign Shohei Ohtani this offseason, but Maitan, who will be subject to the same financial restrictions, will serve as a solid consolation prize, assuming he declared eligible to sign this winter.

Major League Baseball has confirmed in a statement that the Braves will lose the rights to shortstop prospect Kevin Maitan and 12 other worldwide signees.

Other "high-value" players the Braves will lose include Juan Contreras, Yefri del Rosario, Abrahan Gutierrez, Juan Carlos Negret, Yenci Pena, Yunior Severino, Livan Soto and Guillermo Zuniga.

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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