Last night Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported (subscription only) that, as a result of rules violations in the international free agent market, the Atlanta Braves are facing a “substantial” fine, will be hit restrictions in the international market that will be “severe” and that they will, in all likelihood, lose prospects already in their system which were signed as a result of rules violations.
Major League Baseball has still not finished its investigation, but it is expected to announce the sanctions before Thanksgiving.
Rosenthal’s report says that, among the rules broken, the Braves improperly entered into oral agreements with amateur players before they were old enough to sign. These agreements may have included cash payments and housing, both of which violate baseball’s rules. Among the players the Braves may lose are shortstop Kevin Maitan, who was a top signee out of Venezuela last year who will turn 18 in February.
The sanctions will come soon enough. I am far more curious to hear about the transgressions and their nature. I suspect that when we do, will learn a lot about the international signing process that we didn’t know before and which, while reflecting most poorly on the Braves and their employees who broke rules, will not reflect all that well on Major League Baseball either.