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Atlanta Braves Sanctioned, GM Banned for Violating Recruiting Rules

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The MLB cracked down hard on the Braves as the league perpetually banned general manager John Coppolella while the team has been prohibited from going after any Latin American recruit until 2021.

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Meanwhile, Gordon Blakeley, the scouting chief for the team, was also suspended for one year, the report said.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred issued a statement after the league investigation found impropriety on the parts of the Braves in the 2015-2016 season by giving extra bonuses to five prospects. The amount exceeded the cap allowed for teams in signing foreign players.

With that, the Braves are only allowed to give $300,000 in signing bonuses to foreign-born amateurs until June 15, 2019.

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According to ESPN, the contracts that the Braves signed with nine players were nullified. The players are Venezuelan Kevin Maitan, who was given a $4.25 signing bonus; Venezuelan Abrahan Gutierrez, who signed a $3.53-million bonus; Yunior Severino ($1.9 million signing bonus), Juan Contreras ($1.2 million signing bonus), Yenci Peña ($1.05 million signing bonus), Yefri del Rosario ($1 million signing bonus), –all hailing from the Dominican Republic.

Cuban Juan Carlos Negret and Colombian Guillermo Zuniga, $1 million and $350,000 signing bonus, respectively, were also let go.

The contract signed by South Korean Ji-Hwan Bae with the Braves was also quashed because of compensation not stated in the paper.

Robert Puason, the 14-year-old prospect from Dominican Republic, will have to find another team now as his verbal agreement to sign with the Braves was deemed illegal by the league due to the unauthorized bonuses.

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Yahoo Sports said the sanction by the MLB really hit the Braves where it hurts, especially on its previous reputation around the league as a team that follows the rules. Nevertheless, the team still has a bright future under the helm of Alex Anthopoulos in addition to their remaining talented prospects.

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