A very good move: Braves’ Coppolella promoted to GM

John Coppolella, shown here not venting. (AJC file photo)

john-coppolella

John Coppolella at work. (Alex Brandon/AP photo)

The Atlanta Braves just announced they’ve removed the first word from John Coppolella’s job title. He was assistant general manager; he’ll be GM, period. He’ll still report to John Hart, the president of baseball operations, but this is no cosmetic move.

Hart is 67 and had to be convinced to sign on full-time, having joined the organization two winters ago as a consultant. Hart was content consulting and offering commentary on MLB TV and playing golf, but he acceded to John Schuerholz’s request to shepherd the franchise through its first post-Wren days. But Hart isn’t apt to be working his iPhone — he has a Bluetooth headset, FYI — to find another long reliever when he’s 70.

It has been unclear how much of the Braves’ wholesale rebuilding has been the work of Hart, as opposed to Coppolella, but here’s my guess: More than half the ideas have come from Coppolella, and I don’t think it’s a 51-49 split; I’d call it closer to 65-35.

Hart has final say, yes. But the trade for Touki Toussaint, which essentially was buying a prospect for cash, and the massive swap for Hector Olivera, a 30-year-old who hadn’t played in the majors, seemed creative in a way that baseball trades seldom are, which suggested they were the work of someone who’d majored in, say, business at, say, Notre Dame. Which Coppolella did.

Baseball front offices have gone heavy on layering. The Red Sox just hired Frank Wren, whom the Braves just fired, as a vice president of baseball operations. He’ll work under Dave Dombrowski, the president of baseball operations, and presumably alongside Mike Hazen, who was named GM. Even though the Braves now have two presidents — Schuerholz being the other — and one GM, I’d suggest the heavy lifting, both now and for the future, will be done by Coppolella.

About whom I’ve come to know quite a bit, although he dislikes speaking for the record. He’s driven in a way in a way I’ve seldom seen, and he’s smart as all get-out. When he can’t figure a way to make a proposal work, he’ll go off by himself and, two hours later, come back with Plan B.

Having recommended him for the GM job the day Wren was “terminated,” I’ve believed for a while Coppolella was ready. The Braves have come to believe, too.

Reader Comments 0

111 comments
LEWWHEEL
LEWWHEEL

I do admit that some of the trades look better in Oct. than when made, simply for the reason that they can not cost us no more loses in 2015. I think all the players traded away were jumping for joy by the end of the season at their new locations. Many are on the way to the playoffs. The last few games of the season showed just how important the mental aspect is of winning and losing is on the field. Cardinals were thinking past Braves the last there games to the playoffs, so we won.

Braves were looking past this entire year, so we see how the mentality develops next year. There is not a lot of difference in winning and losing.




JeffCriswell
JeffCriswell

Braves should part company with Gonzalez - he's in over his head, as his mediocre record so vividly attests. No way will Gonzalez be able to guide this ship through the tempestuous waters of the rebuild. Braves should look down the bench to Roger McDowell and offer him the job. IMO. 

Intruder
Intruder

Yeah, this move just scares the hell out of the rest of MLB.

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

Coppella did say he will address the bullpen this off season


He better -- why would any SP want to pitch in front of BUMS like Marksberry -- he should be the first to go ASAP he just stinks


Don't think much of Mc Kirahan either -- there is little to like except maybe Vizcaino when healthy

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

This is the accomplishments of the John Coppella/Liberty Media combination; 


A team that will lose in the high 90's and a payroll that is in the bottom third of the game


Is this what we want for our future????????  Are we just supposed to be happy with what we have and be non committal and non complaining and be so thankful for our wonderful owners out in Colorado?


I hate to say this but it looks like the future of the Braves is to be a farm system for the big market teams and us fans should be happy with 90 plus losses a yr and the right to get our butts kicked in yr in and yr out

Hopeless in ATL
Hopeless in ATL

Today is not the future. This year's results are crippled by necessity, and they are certainty not indicative of the end-goal results (2-5 years hence). Though the Braves have played well for the past few weeks. Nobody's crying but the fair-weather fans and hangers on to Wren's legacy.

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

@Hopeless in ATL 


No, I do not think its about fair weather fans and Wren's legacy


It about whether ownership will allow the Braves to have a legitimate 21st century payroll


What will Braves management give us???????  Is it allright to ask and doubt?


From what we have seen from both the Olivera and Gattis trades -- its a fair question as to what we got in return.  I get that Rio Ruiz might make it, Folty might be better ( though I see him as a Kyle Farnsworth type) so you can fairly argue that the Gattis trade is not complete now


The Olivera deal -- that one I absolutely hate the most and it is very fair to question that


Maybe frustrated fans -- but fair weather -- nah that is not right cause the fans who do not like this product owe this current team nothing


These prospects are what they are -- prospects and most of em do not make it


And some of them like Fried and Banuelos are coming off serious injury -- do not get the hype on Fried who was not that good in his limited minor league carreer


tmc
tmc

@VeryDisgusted @Hopeless in ATL couldn't agree more w/ VeryDisgusted. Why is it when you question questionable moves and tactics, you are labled "fair weather" or "hater" or anything that goes against the Braves management?
I think several of their moves are very questionable. The results so far are very limited and don't look to be potentially great moving forward. The Braves have ALWAYS spent less money than most, if not all, teams in their same market share. History is not on the Braves side for rebounding into contention in the next couple years. It's been 15 years now since the Braves have won a playoff series. It's beyond time for the Braves management and ownership to be questioned and held accountable for their results by fans and the media in this town.

Mr. Negative
Mr. Negative

Yeah, he needs to be creative with the current bloodsucking cheapskates they have for owners.

Hopeless in ATL
Hopeless in ATL

Who paid the Uptons, Uggla, Chris Johnson, and Kimbrell last year?

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

Have anyone in the ATL media (both at the paper and in the talk media) ever tried to personally interview Mr John C Malone and Mr Greg Maffei. 


I am sure the media has tried but those guys at Liberty seem to be uninterested in the Braves fan base at all


All you ever get is some corporate diatribe from Terry Mc Guirk


I hope to see the day the Braves are not owned by a corporation.  The only corporation that ever won a championship was the 2002 Angels under Disney -- cannot remember any other major league sports team owned by a corp ever winning a championship (or even getting to a WS or league final).  I do not think the NFL allows for corporate ownership -- no wonder why the NFL is Americas pastime today


The Braves died when Ted lost his boardroom fight at AOL, I think it was in 2002 or around that time he lost control of the teams

DrTruth
DrTruth

@VeryDisgusted Still remember being at a game at the old FCS, sitting in the upper deck and TED came all the way up to the top of our section, shaking hands and thanking fans for coming to the game all the way up.  My dad still talks about "the time I shook Ted Turner's hand"....


The Braves need ownership like that again.  Doubt it will ever happen in our lifetimes.

reckingball
reckingball

The Braves are moving into a position to be a really good MLB team again.


FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

@reckingball 


They might if all the pieces fall together at the same time but it will be a short window of opportunity like a Cleveland or Oakland type of thing


If they ever develop a superstar they will be too cheap to keep him


It will be interesting how they draft next yr -- and I might want to see them stay away from the Boras clients since they never sign till the last minute

58Supersports
58Supersports

@reckingball  What position is that? third from bottom in all MLB. In line for #3 pick in draft, Reds #2 draft and Philly #1...unless Braves lose the next three games. Great position to be in , right Reckingball?

reckingball
reckingball

@58Supersports How much difference is there in  #1 and #3, in next years draft, do you think that next years draft will have that big of an impact on the Braves lineup for next season or 2017.

Do they have another Harper in the '16 draft?

Give me your expert opinion, please.

SupremeGrandPoobah
SupremeGrandPoobah

@VeryDisgusted @reckingball That's my biggest gripe.  If you're going to make a big deal about how we're building from within, but then be too cheap to re-sign them when they become good, you are accomplishing nothing.

Big Wally
Big Wally

Glad the Atlanta media asked Schuerholtz the tough questions, like what the heck was he doing while Wren destroyed the farm system.  That would be sarcasm by the way.  No one in Atlanta media will ever even bring that up.

Jason Forster
Jason Forster

Kind of sour on anyone who John S. likes...a lot of years of ball and only one title.  At some point they will figure out you do have to score to win a game.

SupremeGrandPoobah
SupremeGrandPoobah

@Jason Forster And it helps to have Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz as long-term fixtures too.
  And McGriff, Gallaraga, Chipper, Justice, Gant, etc., etc.

savannahgator5220
savannahgator5220

The Braves need ownership that cares about winning. Until that happens everything else is simply window dressing.

cspecial
cspecial

the bottom line is, the braves need a new manager.terry pendelton is a winner who cares and will make his players win.the braves need to stop the click buddy buddy system and get gonzalez out.noone will pay their money to see a 4th ranked baseball team with a 10th rank manager.

58Supersports
58Supersports

@cspecial agreed, everything except TP (go out of system to get manager) but he would be better than what we got. Hell Mark would?

Can'o'corn
Can'o'corn

They could hire the ghost of Winston Churchill or that dog from Air Bud to be GM and it won't matter one bit until the braves have an owner who cares about winning. Also moving on from the front office establishment who haven't won a WS in 20 years might be a good idea also, i think the magic is gone for them.

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

@Decaturian 


One hundred percent spot on -- it all comes from he top


Unfortunately the parent corporation does not care about this fanbase or this city so until its good for business Liberty is going nowhere and that is bad for ATL 


I would rather have Jeffrey Loria or a Peter Angelos than an invisible corporation   


gordonguy
gordonguy

I'd like to humbly request that the Atlanta Braves fire John Copollela and hire Dr. Truth as GM.  Apparently, he knows a great deal about baseball and can work deals beyond description.  After hearing his cogent and mind-blowing concepts, it's clear that his grasp of the game is above that of any other person who has ever sat in the GM chair, and I'm sure that he would have this team in the playoffs every year from now until the end of time.


The best part of having Dr. Truth as GM is that when he fails miserably, which, of course, he would, then all of the other "experts" who inhabit this blog (and write for the AJC) could have their opportunity to sit in that chair, make all the decisions, and get fired.

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

@gordonguy 


Well DR Truth would not make that dumb Hector Olivera deal and that dumb Gattis deal -- we got nothing for Gattis who inspite of his weaknesses is a solid 25 HR 85 RBI guy and that is an asset this day in time


Coppy has 4 more yrs to screw up and get us more minor league players

DrTruth
DrTruth

@gordonguy Well, well....Another guy who's butt-hurt by the TRUTH.  Why don't you just explain why John Copollela deserves a promotion based on the results of this Braves season --- The WORST season in 25 years?  Why does this Braves front office deserve high-fives from fans like you for their performance this season?


Of course you won't respond because you have no answers.....

GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

What a joke. Johnny Schuerdoltz has and will continue making the decisions for this organization. Anyone thinking otherwise is as foolish as the author of this article.

Misogynist
Misogynist

Braves are on their way.  Mr. freaking no it all (and horrible writer) has given his approval. 

GeorgeJuarez
GeorgeJuarez

Can he play baseball, is he any better that the scum that's on the field and is he responsible for taking this team apart and now gets promoted because he saved Liberty millions in dollars in salaries and the fans got screwed with a second rate team, oh yeah promote him, sounds good to me

MarkAgain
MarkAgain

Whatever the reason...bad deals, Liberty Media...our team sucks. Now we have the same thing in the front office as we do on the field(for the most part) a young and unproven, sounds like he's 10 years old GM.

RayPugh
RayPugh

@MarkAgain incredibly uninformed take. For one, Coppo is not "unproven": the man has succeeded at every level and rocketed up the "corporate ladder." Also, he's really not **that** young - Milwaukee just hired a 30 year old to run their team, and Boston made Theo GM when he was only 26, and he only won 3 World Series. Experience is overrated. 


slydawg
slydawg

Uh.... didn't we all knew this plan a year ago? So all the trades and dismantling were about giving him a clean slate.

Folks, don't let the play mind games with you!!! MB had already dangled such speculation at the end of last season just so the Braves could test which way the wind blows.

reckingball
reckingball

Good move by the Braves.

The Braves are on their way up.

kenstallings
kenstallings

I agree.  This is a great move because it keeps him as our GM for four years.  Had we kept him on the hook then there was always a chance he would leave.  I am convinced that if Liberty Media would allow the Braves to return to being in the top third of MLB in payroll, then we could compete as this front office could develop talent, keep it, and fortify the few areas relatively undeveloped.

SupremeGrandPoobah
SupremeGrandPoobah

@kenstallings But we haven't retained "developed talent" since Chipper Jones, and he was a major exception.  Once a player gets good enough to get decent money, we send them packing.

MaybeMaybeNot
MaybeMaybeNot

Is he really only 37?


He looks like he is 57.  I guess these Braves age you pretty fast.

WhopperDawg
WhopperDawg

Mark, I have no idea why this gives you any comfort. If they fired the lot, presidents, GMs and coach, that would give me at least a prayer of future success. Do Freeman and Simmons a favor and trade them to, oh let's see, the Cardinals, Giants, Dodgers or some franchise that know what the heck they are doing.

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

Respect your opinion Mark but you won't get many sympathizers here with this horrific season. Wait and let's see how he does now that his training wheels are off!

RayPugh
RayPugh

@buellerbuellerbueller are you really too stupid to understand the concept of "rebuilding"? How did you know how to turn on a computer and type this comment?