Major League Baseball penalizes Braves for global spending violations

MLB hammers Atlanta Braves, declaring 12 minor league players free agents

One of the top prospects in baseball is suddenly a free agent, the biggest hammer to drop from sweeping punishments against the Braves for improper behavior while signing amateur talent.

In handing down the punishment, the league announced that Braves will forfeit rights to 13 worldwide prospects, will be prohibited from signing any global player for more than $10,000 during the 2019-20 signing period and are restricted from signing players in the next two signing periods for contracts with bonuses greater than $300,000.

Major League Baseball has confirmed in a statement that the Braves will lose the rights to shortstop prospect Kevin Maitan and 12 other global signees.

"With respect to individual discipline, former Braves General Manager John Coppolella will be placed on the permanently ineligible list, effective immediately", Manfred's statement read. Blakeley will be banned for one year. They also will lose their third-round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft for offering under-the-table inducements to a 2017 draft pick.

The Braves also evaded the limits in 2016 and 2017 by paying "inflated bonuses" to player agents for lesser prospects in exchange for desired prospects signing at a lower amount.

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The Braves also suffered penalties for circumventing worldwide signing rules in recent years.

The team will also receive penalties for the next two worldwide signing periods, with Major League Baseball prohibiting the team from signing any global player for more than $10,000 during 2019-20, while also having their 2020-21 signing bonus pool money cut in half.

The Braves were found to have offered impermissible benefits to draft picks as well in order to circumvent their limited signing bonus pool. At least three other players signed for a bonus of more than $1 million.

The decision to ban Coppolella was one of the many harsh penalties handed out to the Braves on Tuesday.

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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