Stunning stuff: John Coppolella, the principal architect of the Atlanta Braves’ rebuild, has resigned as general manager. According to the Braves’ statement, “The resignation comes as a breach of Major League Baseball rules regarding the international player market.”
The international market has long been a place where “handshake” agreements have long preceded contractual ones. The destination of many international players is often known months before the window for signing opens. And the Braves, it must be said, were believed to have cleaned up on the international market in the summer of 2016.
Still, this is a bolt from the blue. It leaves the rebuild without its chief rebuilder. John Hart is the team president, but he wasn’t the guy working the phones in the unending pursuit of prospects, prospects, prospects. (Hart will serve as GM until a replacement is found, the Braves announced.)
Some Braves fans will rejoice, Coppolella having made several trades that lots of folks hated. Others, noting that he built baseball’s No. 1 farm system, may be a bit more circumspect.
More to come.