Former Atlanta Braves GM John Coppolella given lifetime ban from baseball

John Coppolella threw his career down the tube in order to cheat

Former Atlanta Braves General Manager John Coppolella was banned from working in professional baseball for life Tuesday over rule violations the club committed in signing worldwide players.

Coppolella was served with MLB's ultimate punishment, and his special assistant during his Braves' tenure, Gordon Blakeley, was banned from the game for a year.

As a result, the Braves signed nine players - Juan Contreras, Yefri del Rosario, Abrahan Gutierrez, Kevin Maitan, Juan Carlos Negret, Yenci Pena, Yunior Severino, Livan Soto and Guillermo Zunigo - during the 2016-17 period, who "would have been unavailable to them had the Club accurately accounted for its signings during the 2015-16 signing period", noted Manfred.

The Dodgers, Angels and other teams have exceeded their bonus pools for signing global amateurs at various times, well aware that the result would be a severe reduction on what they could offer worldwide amateurs for the subsequent two years.

Atlanta, limited to spending a maximum of $300,000 for a player in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 signing periods, will face severe penalties in the two periods thereafter, according to sources. Finally, the team will be banned from signing 14-year-old Robert Puason after illegally reaching an agreement.

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Coppolella was forced to resign as general manager on October 2 after Major League Baseball investigators disclosed that the Braves had flouted global signing rules between 2015 and 2017.

The Braves have been in rebuilding mode, relying on younger prospects.

An investigation determined that the Braves funneled extra signing bonus money to five players last season by giving the funds first to another player considered a foreign professional under baseball's rules and having the money redistributed to the other five, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said. And the severity of the penalties go beyond merely losing players and facing restrictions going forward: Between the signing bonuses and penalties for exceeding their bonus pool, the Braves will have paid well over $20 million to players who no longer are part of their organization.

As the investigation into the Braves unfolded, executives around baseball agreed that other teams disregard the rules in similar fashion to Atlanta.

The Braves were forced to give up 12 prospects they had signed for an excess of $20 million due to their rule violations.

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