John Coppolella

From BR Bullpen

Biographical Information[edit]

John Coppolella worked for the New York Yankees from 2000-2006, then moved to the Atlanta Braves. In 2011, the Braves promoted him to Director of Professional Scouting. In 2012 he was promoted to Assistant General Manager under Frank Wren, and when John Hart combined the functions of Team President and General Manager in 2015, he was the team's de facto GM without the title. On October 1st of that year, Hart relinquished his GM duties to focus on his work as team President, and Coppolella was officially appointed the team's GM. He was given a four-year contract and one of his major duties was to oversee the team's move from Turner Field into its new home at SunTrust Park in 2017.

However, in a surprise announcement, Coppolella resigned from his duties at the end of the 2017 season on October 2nd. The resignation came as a result of a breach of Major League Baseball rules concerning the international player market, according to a statement by the Braves. Also resigning was Gordon Blakeley, assistant GM and chief international scout. There was an ongoing investigation about which the team did not want to comment. John Hart took over in the interim during the search for a permanent replacement, but in mid-November Alex Anthopoulos was brought in as the GM and Vice-President for baseball operations, while Hart was shuffled to a non-executive position from which he resigned. On November 21st, the Commissioner's office issued its ruling after completing its investigation and Coppolella was handed a lifetime ban from baseball for willingly circumventing baseball's rules regarding international signings. In effect, the Braves were diverting signing bonuses declared for certain players to other prospects, in order to make it appear that they were not exceeding MLB's cap on bonuses. 12 prospects signed by the Braves were declared free agents, and Coppolella's deputy, Blakeley, received a one-year suspension for his role in the scam. Other members of the organization were punished as well.

Coppolella was reinstated by the Commissioner on January 9, 2023 after spending more than five years on the ineligible list.

Preceded by
John Hart
Atlanta Braves General Manager
Succeeded by
Alex Anthopoulos

Further Reading[edit]

  • Mark Bowman: "Braves penalized for int'l signing violations",, November 21, 2017. [1]
  • Kyle Glaser: "Braves Paid High Price For Little Reward In International Signing Scandal", Baseball America, September 19, 2022. [2]
  • Kevin Spain and Gabe Lacques: "MLB hammers Atlanta Braves: Former GM Coppolella banned for life, 12 prospects now free agents", USA Today Sports, November 21, 2017. [3]

Related Sites[edit]