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MLB is Absolutely Hammering the Braves: 12 Lost Prospects, a Lost Draft Pick, Future Sanctions

MLB News and Rumors

The punishment for the Braves was expected to be steep, and MLB wasn’t messing around.


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For misdeeds in the international free agent market (allegedly overpaying, early deals, illegal inducements, etc.), the Braves are getting absolutely hammered:

Wow. That’s some jaw-dropping punishment from a league that took it awfully easy on the Cardinals for HACKING ANOTHER TEAM’S DRAFT INFORMATION AND THEN USING THAT INFORMATION IN THE DRAFT. I’m not bitter. Just give the Cardinals another competitive balance pick.


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OK, but back to the Braves. That’s a system-gutting punishment, not only for the 12 prospects they’re losing, but the restrictions in the future.

According to Passan and Ben Badler, the prospects the Braves are losing are essentially all the top guys they signed in the last two IFA periods, and they will now become free agents. The particulars of how they can be signed by new organizations will be revealed soon, but, at a minimum, I’m going to assume they’ll be subject to IFA restrictions. For the Cubs, who are in the IFA penalty box until July 2, 2018, they cannot offer any of these prospects more than $300,000 to sign. But, in a market that’s already mostly played out, the ability to offer a $300,000 bonus to a prospect who’s already been paid once might be pretty darn good.

The Braves’ system is so stacked that they’ll still be a top farm system after these penalties, but, again, this will sting for years.


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Whether there will be other penalties coming for other organizations for IFA malfeasance remains to be seen (there was a report last month that investigations were ongoing). If this is the new benchmark for punishment by the league … yikes. Don’t do the crime.

You could argue the punishment should be seen as a warning shot in advance of the Shohei Ohtani pursuit, where teams will have an enormous incentive to skate around the IFA restrictions. You can presume that the signing will immediately be met with scrutiny, if not an investigation, so teams will be doing their best to keep their nose clean lest MLB bring the hammer to their doorstep.

UPDATE: Here’s the full statement from Commissioner Rob Manfred, including the determination that former Braves GM John Coppolella is banned from baseball for life:


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Full statement from Manfred on #Braves: "My office has completed a thorough investigation into violations of…

Posted by Ken Rosenthal on Tuesday, November 21, 2017


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Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.