There have always been rumors and talk that the inevitable punishment for the Braves’ transgressions in the international signing market would be “unprecedented” in its scope. Now we’re starting to get a clear idea of just how bad the punishment will be and it’s probably time to get ready to say farewell to one prized prospect in particular.
Ken Rosenthal of The Atlantic is reporting that while Commissioner Rob Manfred is still not finished trying to determine just how severe the penalty will be for the team’s actions, the Braves will probably receive a “substantial” fine, restrictions in future international signing markets that amounts to being “severe,” and the loss of prospects signed from Latin America is basically guaranteed.
In Rosenthal’s article (which is behind a paywall but we definitely recommend that you go check it out), the main prospect who is mentioned is the crown jewel of Atlanta’s 2016 international signing class, Kevin Maitan. Rosenthal mentioned that the Braves were being investigated for handing out verbal agreements to underage players and also mentioned that Maitan was living in an apartment with another prospect who the Braves signed, though there’s no confirmation that the Braves paid for it.
Regardless, it sure seems like the Braves are probably going to take a big hit when it comes to their pool of prospects and if the rumors about Maitan turn out to be true, then the rest of baseball should get excited since he’ll probably be a free agent in the near future. Maitan probably won’t be the only one who baseball declares as a free agent, but it seems like he’ll be the most likely candidate for this.
Personally, I will be shocked if the Braves manage to hang on to Kevin Maitan once this is all said and done. Even though Maitan didn’t exactly set the world on fire during his first season as a professional — and Rosenthal noted that the Braves themselves weren’t thrilled with how things went for him in 2017 — he still has plenty of time to develop before his major league ETA and you have to imagine that every other team in baseball would try to make a play for him if (or when) he becomes a free agent.
Either way, we now have an idea of how bad this is going to be for the Braves and by all accounts, it’s looking like it’s going to be pretty bad for Atlanta. The minor league system should still have the talent to overcome the hit that they’re going to take, but it’s still going to be a mighty hit.