Braves busted by Major League Baseball over global signings

23 November, 2017, 01:55 | Author: Juana Mckenzie
  • Kevin Maitan

Former Atlanta Braves General Manager John Coppolella has been banned for life by the Major League Baseball for meddling with worldwide free-agent signings.

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.

As a result, the Braves signed nine players - Juan Contreras, Yefri del Rosario, Abrahan Gutierrez, Kevin Maitan, Juan Carlos Negret, Yenci Pena, Yunior Severino, Livan Soto and Guillermo Zunigo - during the 2016-17 period, who "would have been unavailable to them had the Club accurately accounted for its signings during the 2015-16 signing period", noted Manfred. He will be eligible to sign with the 29 other teams, who will be able to use leftover money from the current worldwide signing period or dip into their 2017-18 bonus pools to sign the ex-Braves, a source familiar with the penalties said.

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The scandal has already cost former Braves general manager John Coppolella and team scout Gordon Blakeley their jobs. Each of the players will be forced to use an agent different than the buscon, or trainer, who negotiated their original deals. They also will not be allowed to sign Robert Puason, a prospect for whom they had reached a deal. Come 2020-21, the Braves will lose half their signing-bonus pool, which is expected to be $4.75 million. He will remain with Atlanta.

Peter Gammons asked an important question on Twitter on Tuesday when he wondered who in Braves' ownership was the one giving the OK for all of the cash spent on these prospects?

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said the league's investigation found that the Braves illegally moved bonus pool money from one player to boost another player's contract.

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The first US$200,000 of a signing bonus will not count against a team's limit, but the US$300,000 maximum remains for teams subject to the penalty for exceeding their pool under the previous labor contract.

In a statement, the Braves said the organization "has not lived up to the standard our fans expect from us and that we expect from ourselves". Maitan is the biggest name in the group and is expected to receive the most interest from other teams.

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