Continuing the trend that the Chicago Cubs followed – well, I won’t say pioneered, but they were something of an early adopter – when they brought in Theo Epstein, the Atlanta Braves have named John Hart their new President of Baseball Operations (as the Dodgers just did with Andrew Friedman) after he’d been serving as their interim general manager. Presumably, he’ll now name a GM to serve under him.
Although that’s theoretically another job into which an up-and-coming Cubs executive could be poached, I think it’s a fair bet that top Braves AGM John Coppolella will be promoted to the GM gig.
The Braves have been on a rampage upgrading their scouting staff in recent weeks after years of underperformance in that area (these things trail by several years, so the darks days hadn’t yet manifested – but if you dig into their system, big league team, and financial commitments, the troubles were coming). Hart has obviously been a part of that, and team president John Schuerholz has clearly wanted Hart to stick around.
I’m going to assume that Hart as an executive is a fairly different guy than Hart as a commentator on MLB Network, where I was often unimpressed. Schuerholz is no dummy, and if he wanted Hart to lead his baseball side this badly, then the Braves are probably in good hands.
With rumors swirling that Josh Byrnes is going to be the guy under Andrew Friedman, it’s possible the Cubs’ front office will come out of this offseason of turnover unscathed by other teams picking off parts.