Big news out of Atlanta a few moments ago as Ken Rosenthal reports that Braves general manager John Coppolella has resigned in the wake of allegations that he breached rules in connection with signings of international players. Special assistant to the GM Gordon Blakeley is also resigning, Rosenthal says.
The specific nature of the infractions are not known yet, but Jeff Passan reports that Major League Baseball has been investigating the Braves in general and Coppolella specifically in recent weeks for a host of issues including international signings and other issues as well. Passan says “MLB was looking into everything from Braves’ int’l operations to its domestic draft to Coppolella’s treatment of Braves employees.” He says there has been considerable infighting in the organization in recent weeks.
There have been few if any external signs of strife with the Braves, apart from maybe the up-in-the-air status of manager Brian Snitker, who some are reported to want to bring back while others do not. What Rosenthal and Passan are talking about here, however, appears to be far broader and far more serious than any difference of baseball opinions. Indeed, it appears to be the sort of thing that could lead to sanctions against the Braves for rules violations.
John Hart, president of baseball operations, will take over as GM on an interim basis while the club looks for a new GM. He said that the Braves are cooperating with MLB’s investigation but that they will have no further comment at this time.
Obviously we will learn more about this in the coming days.