The commissioner’s office of Major League Baseball is trying to change the behavior of everyone who works in the league. Steroid penalties have been harsh at 80 games suspension for a first timer, 162 games for a second and a lifetime ban for the third, of which the only player on that list at this time is Jenrry Mejia the former pitcher with the New York Mets. Players suspended for steroids are not paid.
However, baseball’s biggest statement was made earlier this week. The Atlanta Braves forced former General Manager John Coppolella to step down amidst the fallout from a big scandal involving international signings.
An investigation by MLB turned up loads of evidence that showed the conniving, complicated, deliberate efforts to circumvent a system between 2015 and 2017, and the league commissioner Rob Manfred wanted the league to make a bold statement that what was done was not right, and he did just that.
The ringleader of the scandal, Coppolella was given a lifetime ban from baseball. While on that ineligible list, Coppolella cannot be hired by any team in any way, and he cannot work as a player agent. In essence, he must find another career.
The 13 players the Braves signed through the deceitful tactics used by the conspirators became free agents, and can sign with any team using international signing rules.
That is a huge hit to the Braves, which MLB intended, but not that bad for the players involved, who are able to keep their signing bonus and can now sign with another club.
Atlanta is not able to offer any players over a $10,000 bonus during the signing period of 2019-2020, and their 2020-2021 bonus pool was reduced 50%.
The Braves also lost their 2018 third round draft pick because they had offered one of their draft picks in 2017 incentives under the table to sign him.
Atlanta has a long way to go from here and must first start by reshaping its image and getting the fans something that they can be excited about.
Obviously, Atlanta is not the only club that has attempted to skirt the rules when related to signing of international players, specifically those from Latin America.
However, because the commissioner but the hammer down, not just a slight slap on the wrists, against Atlanta, rest assured that other clubs will examine all risks carefully prior to taking chances that could leave them in the same situation.