It felt like a nightmare. One year ago on this day, Major League Baseball levied arguably the most severe sanctions it had ever given a team. Today, the Atlanta Braves continue to push forward.
The Atlanta Braves had a sentence passed on them on this day one year ago. That sentence ended almost two months of speculation about the future of the organization after it was revealed the team’s former general manager and other members of the staff had committed multiple improper acts in their dealings in both the international market and the MLB draft.
We’re going to walk back through the last year and review the punishment handed down a year ago today, first looking at the international and draft punishments levied on the team, and then we’ll look at the players that were removed from the organization and how they fared in 2018.
What has already been suffered
The Atlanta Braves had 13 players removed from the team that were then sent through a process of being recruited and signed again by other teams in the league for many of them, but we’ll get to the players involved later.
Two Atlanta Braves officials, former GM John Coppolella and former special assistant to the GM Gordon Blakeley had already resigned their positions on October 2, 2017. On November 21st, “Coppy” was permanently banned from working ever again in major league baseball while Blakely was given a one-year suspension.
This past June, the Atlanta Braves were without a 3rd round selection. This was due to extra compensation that MLB’s investigation found the team to have given to a draft pick in order for him to sign for a lower number.
Punishments still to come
The Atlanta Braves were already in the international signing penalty for the 2018-2019 period, and MLB did not add additional punishment in this year’s signing period. The international signing penalties begin this coming summer.
Beginning with the signing period that begins on July 2nd, 2019, the Atlanta Braves will be allowed to sign no player for more than $10,000. The Braves will have no bonus pool, which means that the team cannot use the IFA pool slots in trade, even if they can’t use them, as they did in multiple deals this season.
One of the top players in the 2019-2020 IFA signing periods, Robert Puason, had a packaged agreement with the Braves that required the Braves to sign multiple other players from his agent in order to secure his services multiple years in advance. The Braves will not be allowed to reach a contract with Puason as part of the punishment.
For the signing period that begins July 2nd, 2020, the Atlanta Braves will have half the bonus pool that they typically would. The money removed from the Braves will be distributed evenly among all other teams, making it even more difficult to negotiate, though the team will no longer be limited in the maximum contract it can offer outside of not exceeding the maximum bonus pool they’re alotted.
Now let’s take a look at the players…