The Commissioner’s Office confirmed Tuesday that the Atlanta Braves had illegally signed up to 12 international prospects, and has notified nine of the signees that they will become free agents, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.
The sanctions against Atlanta are staggering. It’s not just losing 12 players, some potentially elite, and the $20M+ they cost. It’s the crippling signing restrictions in 2019-20 and 2020-21. This is the sort of penalty that will make teams think long and hard about cheating.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 21, 2017
They also have been relieved of a third-round draft pick, and will be highly restricted in the international pool’s signing periods for the next few years to come.
Former general manager John Coppolella has also been banned from MLB for life as part of today’s ruling.
Atlanta Braves Penalized Due to Illegal Prospect Signing
Per sources reporting to Baseball America, some players on the table as of now are: 17-year old Venezuelan infielder Kevin Maitan, the #5 prospect in the class of 2016 and #1 in the international grouping, 18-year old Abraham Gutierrez, the #15 international prospect, as well as second baseman Yunior Severino, right-handed pitcher Juan Contreras, short-stop Ji-Hwan Bae, right-handed pitcher Guillermo Zuniga, and outfielders Juan Carlos Negret, Antonio Sucre, Brandol Mezquita and Angel Rojas. They have also been sanctioned to a $10,000 signing cap during the 2019-2020 season in the international pickings, as well as a 50% reduction in the 2020-2021 international pool money.
Commissioner Rob Manfred has tried to lay down the line on issues like this before, but teams have seemed to take it rather lightly (re: the St. Louis Cardinals hacking scandal in 2014), but this seems to be his last straw. Hopefully, the rest of the league will get the message before they have more problems in overseas markets.
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