By now, you are likely aware that today has been one of the worst in the history of the Atlanta Braves franchise. Word has been leaking all day that the Braves were going to be losing a big chunk of prospects in addition to facing severe penalties on the international free agent market. Reports for Jeff Passan confirmed our worst fears that Major League Baseball was not going to come down lightly and now Major League Baseball has made it official.
There is a lot to unpack here, but essentially the Braves circumvented international spending limits in the 2015-206 season which, in turn, allowed them to go wild in the 2016-2017 season despite the fact that if their actual 2015-26 spending had been recorded, they would not have been able to do so. As a result, 13 players including Kevin Maitan, Abrahan Gutierrez, Livan Soto, and Yefri del Rosario were released from the Braves. The infractions for Jihwan Bae and a few other prospects were separate from the major infractions, but those players were also “granted” free agency. The Braves were also found guilty of trying to package players in order to eventually sign Robert Puason and are therefore banned from signing him in the future.
Additionally, the Braves will have severe restrictions placed on their international signings for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 international signing periods. In a separate announcement, John Coppolella was banned for life from Major League Baseball and Gordon Blakeley received a one year ban. The Braves released their statement on the matter.
It does not appear as though the Braves will be challenging MLB’s findings, so this is the reality that we all must live with.