Former executive John Hart is out for the Atlanta Braves.
Effective immediately, Hart is relinquishing his position as Special Advisor. This role was a step down from his former title of President of Baseball Operations.
After Hart was nowhere to be seen as the Braves hired Alex Anthopoulos as Executive Vice President / General Manager earlier this week, there were questions regarding Hart’s impact on the team moving forward.
Now, we know, the answer is nil.
Hart has opted for a self-imposed exile to “pursue other opportunities,” as noted in the press release. His tenure with a Braves lasted approximately 38 months.
Hart’s knowledge of the Braves’ international infractions has been repeatedly called into question, as has his “disengaged” management style.
Jerry Crasnick’s recent report that Hart would be cleared of wrongdoing by MLB was met with considerable backlash and incredulity. Is it worse if he knew, or if he didn’t know? And how could he have not known?
Hart’s involvement in front office activities decreased after John Coppolella’s appointment as General Manager in October 2015. As such, Hart’s disconnection from baseball ops led to shady interactions abroad, whether he was aware of them or not.
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A wide array of alleged infractions forced Coppolella and former head of international scouting Gordon Blakely to step down in early October. Hart now joins them in the unemployment line.
It is unclear whether Hart’s departure was recommended by the team, or initiated by Hart himself.
Either way, this move, paired with the Anthopoulos hiring, is another step by the Braves to start distancing themselves from the ongoing fiasco.
Will MLB have mercy on the Braves for parting ways with the ones who oversaw these violations? This remains to be seen.
MLB is expected to release the findings of their investigation within the next two weeks. An official announcement will allow the Braves to repair the damage done by the former front office regime.
Whatever the punishment, Hart’s resignation is a step in the right direction.