The Atlanta Braves’ baseball odds today take a major blow as their vaunted 2016 international class recruited by former general manager John Coppolella and his former special assistant Gordon Blakeley has gotten them into a lot of trouble. Following a two-month crackdown of infractions committed by the Braves in the international market and in relation to the domestic Draft, the MLB has come on the Bravos harder than Elliott Ness on Al Capone. As a result, Atlanta will forfeit 13 international prospects, including No. 38 ranked prospect shortstop Kevin Maitan, and lose their third-round pick for the 2018 Draft, among other sanctions.
Additionally, Coppolella and Blakely, both of whom resigned from their roles with the Braves on October 2nd, have been, respectively, placed on the permanently ineligible list, and suspended for one year. Moreover, John Hart stepped down as president of baseball operations and left the organization last week after CEO and Chairman Terry McGuirk appointed Alex Anthopoulos as the club’s general manager. “The senior Baseball Operations officials responsible for the misconduct are no longer employed by the Braves,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said. “I am confident that Terry McGuirk, John Schuerholz, Alex Anthopoulos and their staffs have and will put in place procedures to ensure that this type of conduct never occurs again and which will allow the Club to emerge from this difficult period as the strong and respected franchise that it has always been.”
According to establishments that cater to people who bet on baseball online, the Braves’ baseball odds today of winning the 2018 World Series stand at +5000, ten times worse than the current champs and favorites the Houston Astros’ +500. The Bravos signed, exceeding their international bonus pool by over $11 million, what was deemed the top 2016 international class. The league however found that Atlanta had neglected to meet international signing rules in each of the past three signing periods. Maitain received a $4.25 million bonus while catcher Abrahan Gutierrez received a bonus of $3.53 million. As it turns out, the Braves submitted, in the 2015-16 international signing period, bonus figures lower than those agreed with the signed player – the additional money was paid with the inflated signing bonus given to another player exempt from the signing pool as a “foreign professional.”
If Atlanta would have signed the players to contracts including their actual bonuses, they would have gone over their signing pool by more than 5% and been restricted from signing a player for more than $300,000 in either of the following two signing periods. In light of this, the MLB declared Maitain; Gutierrez; pitchers Juan Contreras, Yefri del Rosario and Guillermo Zuniga; outfielder Juan Carlos Negret; and infielders Yenci Peña, Yunior Severino and Livan Soto, who had all been signed for more than $300,000, free agents. Furthermore, the league voided the signings of Brandol Mezquita, Angel Rojas and Antonio Sucre after discovering they were part of “package deals;” that is, they received reduced signing bonuses and the additional money was funneled to the player’s agent via inflated bonuses given to other clients. And that’s how the Braves’ baseball odds today take a major blow.