Jon Heyman reports further punishment is a possibility for the Atlanta Braves
On November 21, Major League Baseball dropped the biggest hammer Atlanta has seen since Hank Aaron. Now cynically embraced as “Black Tuesday,” the removal of 13 international prospects from the farm of the Atlanta Braves was the result of international creativity and dishonesty.
Multiple executives associated with said rule-breaking have departed, and the Braves’ off-season is finally up and running. New GM Alex Anthopoulos has already started building his 2018 roster through a series of transactions. Additional moves are likely taking place before today’s arbitration deadline.
The Braves’ punishment sent shock waves through the organization, as well as through other teams and curious onlookers. But, just to make sure everyone learned their lesson, MLB might not be done handing out penalties.
Jon Heyman of Fan Rag Sports reported Wednesday:
"“…there could be another penalty or two handed out to one or two more working in the international ranks there, beyond the one-year ban for top scout Gordon Blakely and rare lifetime ban for GM John Coppolella, who got the brunt of it.”"
This is definitely worth keeping an eye on.
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As of yet, it is unclear if a new set of penalties would befall the team itself, or just employees. While open to interpretation, Heyman’s wording seems to indicate new punishment would be exacted on an individual level.
The Braves’ farm was deep enough to absorb the punishment, but any new penalties would be disheartening and (seemingly) unnecessary.
The Atlanta Braves were not alone in their international misdeeds – it appears at least half of MLB was bending these rules. When this scandal broke, Ken Rosenthal reported up to 15 teams had reached verbal agreements with ineligible players.
Certain dominoes have already started falling, as last month the Pittsburgh Pirates parted ways with former Director of Latin American Scouting Rene Gayo due to “financial impropriety” in the international market. More league-wide fallout could be on the horizon for the Atlanta Braves.
Atlanta’s punishment sent a message about the ramifications of cheating; another wave of penalties would further drive the point home. If MLB is still out for blood, this soap opera could continue dragging.
Stay tuned for more potential fallout for the Atlanta Braves in 2018 and beyond.