John Coppolella, the bright young assistant GM for the Atlanta Braves is now John Coppolella, bright young GM of the Braves. GM John Hart is now President of Baseball Operations.
In some ways this is just more of the same title inflation we’ve seen all over baseball, with the men with the final call on baseball decisions — in this case Hart — being given loftier titles than that of the traditional “general manager,” and assistants being moved up to GM.
But it’s a bit more significant with the Braves. For one thing Hart is 67-years-old and, since he took over for Frank Wren as GM, there has been a sense that he is not going to be the top baseball ops guy forever. Rather, Coppolella is the heir apparent, he already has many of the duties of the traditional GM and it is assumed he will eventually take over.
Indeed, it’s possible he already has in many important ways. Coppolella has a reputation for being more analytically bent than guys of Hart’s generation and building the farm system, rather than just wheeling and dealing, is thought to be his preoccupation. While the Braves have been a tire fire on the field this year, they have clearly upgraded their organization overall as part of their rebuild, and it’s not unreasonable to think that Coppolella is the primary architect there.