For several weeks the Atlanta Braves have been waiting for the shoe to drop. Immediately at the end of the season General Manager John Coppolella was fired and last week the President of Baseball Operations John Hart resigned after being relegated to an advisory role in the organization. On Tuesday Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred added Coppolella’s name to the list of living people who are banned for life from participating in baseball. His name will now be added alongside Pete Rose, Chris Correa, and Jenrry Mejia who was banned last year after being in violation of the policy for using performance enhancing drugs. Correa was banned for life by Major League Baseball and sent to prison for 46 months after hacking into a Houston Astro’s computer in 2013 and 2014 and obtained proprietary information on the Astro’s scouting, player draft information, injury reports, statistics, and performance notes.
The penalty Major League Baseball has applied to the Braves will cost the team roughly $20 million in signing bonuses to the paid to thirteen players the Braves will forfeit as part of the action. Major League Baseball concluded these players had been improperly signed and the actions by the Braves had preempted efforts by other teams who may have intended to sign those players only to find they were already obligated to the Braves even though it was apparent to the other team the player should not be obligated. It became obvious these actions required an investigation. Further the Braves will lose draft picks in the upcoming draft, will be prohibited from signing any international player for more than $10 thousand during the 119-20 period and restricted from signing players in the next two signing periods for contracts with greater than $300.00. Their 2020-2021 budget will limit them to a maximum of ten thousand dollars in signing bonus per player. Some baseball pundits offer some relief by pointing out the Braves have not been all that successful in developing teenagers into major league talent. Most of these players will not have to wait long till they see dollars flashing in front of these as other teams will be competing for the opportunity to add them to their minor league system. The Braves will have to depend upon their farm system and stateside drafted players to replenish their farm system to develop and trade for major league ready players. The Braves have been in a losing pattern for four years and are expected to see some evidence of their rebuilding effort in the 2018 season. It will be interesting to see how the new General Manager Alex Anthopoulos stocks the line-up for the next season. In spite of the penalties laid on the Braves by Major League baseball the Braves were busy on Tuesday claiming LHP Grant Dayton off the waiver wire from the Dodgers, and added LHP Adam McCreery and pitcher Ricardo Sanchez.
For a number of years WRGC has been an Atlanta Braves Radio Network affiliate, however as 2018 rolls around Braves fans will not be able to follow the Braves on 540 WRGC. The decision to not continue as a Braves affiliate was made made prior to the end of the 2017 season. Several factors played into the decision including the expected addition of FM coverage.