Major League Baseball drops hammer on Braves' scandal: prospect loss, lifetime ban

Lynette Rowe
November 22, 2017

Our own Jon Heyman initially noted that the Atlanta Braves were slated to have their ruling handed down by Major League Baseball on Tuesday following an investigation into the team's global spending activity.

Manfred also announced 12 players the Braves signed illegally during the 2015-17 worldwide free-agent period have been released from their contracts, making them eligible to sign with any team. The 18-year-old Del Rosario was ranked the No. 4 hurler in the 2016 global class by Baseball America.

John Coppolella, who resigned as the Braves' general manager last month amid the league investigation, joins Pete Rose (betting scandal), former St. Louis Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa (hacking scandal) and former New York Mets pitcher Jenrry Mejia (three violations of drug policy) on baseball's permanently ineligible list.

Commissioner Rob Manfred ruled that the Braves must forfeit 13 worldwide prospects, including highly touted Kevin Maitan, an infielder from Venezuela who signed for $4.25 million in 2016. The team's ability to sign players in Latin America over the next few years has been severely restricted.

Rob Manfred and the league came down hard on the Braves, stripping them off several high-profile prospects and limiting their ability to spend on the global market for the next two years.

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Maitan, a 17-year-old shortstop from Venezuela, is the top prospect of the group, ranked fifth among Braves farmhands by MLB.com.

The Atlanta Braves have reportedly been hammered by Major League Baseball for violating the rules for signing global prospects. None will be eligible to re-sign with the Braves. The investigation also found the Braves offered impermissible benefits to a player selected in the First-Year Player Draft, persuading said player to sign for a lower amount.

Venezuelan shortstop Livan Soto and Dominican righthander Yefri del Rosario, who each signed for $1 million in 2016, have also been informed that they are free agents.

The Braves will also have a $10,000 signing cap on worldwide free agents in 2019-20, have their bonus pool reduced by 50 percent in 2020-21 and forfeit their third-round draft pick in 2018.

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

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