Braves To Lose 12 International Prospects In MLB Ruling

The Atlanta Braves will lose 12 international prospects after Major League Baseball’s investigation on their violations in regards to signing international amateurs according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

The biggest name among the 12 is infielder Kevin Maitan. He was the Braves top international prospect as they signed him for $4.25 million in 2016.

All 29 other teams will be able to sign Maitan in approximately two weeks with either their current bonus pool money for 2017-2018 or their bonus pool money for 2018-2019. However, the teams can’t combine the money from both signing periods.

Other notable names the Braves will lose are catcher Abrahan Gutierrez, pitcher Juan Contreras, third basemen Yenci Pena, and Korean shortstop Ji-hwan Bae. Gutierrez received a $3.5 million signing bonus while Contreras and Pena received over $1 million each. Bae was signed for $300,000.

In addition, the Braves will be limited to spending $300,000 for a player during the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 signing periods. In the 2019-2020 offseason they will only be allowed to spend $10,000 per player and won’t be able to sign 14-year-old shortstop Robert Puason whom they had illegally agreed to a deal with already while he was still underage. In 2020-2021 the team will lose half of their expected $4.75 bonus pool money.

The punishments don’t end there, however. The Braves will also lose their 2018 third-round draft pick after the investigation concluded that they offered extra benefits to their 2017 second-round pick Drew Waters.

Braves’ general manager John Coppolella and international scouting chief Gordon Blakeley were forced to resign on Oct. 2 amid the MLB probe.

The team’s president of baseball operations John Hart noted at the time that he didn’t ask for Coppolella’s resignation to lessen any impact from MLB.

“We didn’t bargain, if you will, on that,” Hart said in October according to ESPN. “The decision that was made here internally was it just wasn’t right and it wasn’t going to fit for what worked with the Braves going forward.”

Coppolella will now be banned from MLB for life and Blakeley will be banned for one year according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

Hart resigned himself on Friday after Alex Anthopoulos was hired to be the Braves new general manager. While Hart’s involvement in the scandal is unknown, his resignation gives the Braves a fresher start than if he stuck around in his current position.

“This was a difficult decision, but it’s one that I made with the best interests of the Atlanta Braves in mind,” Hart said in a team press release. “With the hiring of Alex Anthopoulos as general manager, this organization is in great hands. I believe that the talent of the Major League players, combined with the young talent soon to arrive, makes the Braves poised for a great run of success. This is a good time to step aside and let Alex and his group put their stamp on this great franchise.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

About John Jackson 220 Articles
John is a communication major with a concentration in media production and a minor in English at Manhattan College. He was also a production intern at The Dr. Oz Show. John aspires to make a career out of his passion for sports. He is the sports editor for Manhattan College's newspaper, The Quadrangle. He was formerly a managing editor for Last Word On Baseball of the Last Word On Sports network and was an editor for Mets Merized Online. He now serves as a senior writer for MMO. You can follow John on Twitter @John97Jackson.