Braves general manager John Coppolella has resigned effective immediately, as first reported by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, Major League Baseball has been investigating Coppolella for weeks, with a variety of issues arising.
MLB was looking into everything from Braves' int'l operations to its domestic draft to Coppolella's treatment of Braves employees.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 2, 2017
The news of Coppolella’s departure comes as the first major front-office shakeup this off-season, as the Braves were thought to be likely to make major additions this winter under the leadership of Coppolella and president of baseball operations John Hart. Hart will immediately take on the day-to-day general manager duties for the Braves, though the club appears likely to hire a general manager to replace Coppolella at some point in the near future.
Coppolella is not the only Braves executive to be leaving the club, as Rosenthal adds that special assistant Gordon Blakeley is also resigning. Rosenthal reports that the investigation is focused on the circumvention of international signing rules, though it’s unclear which specific accusations the team is facing.
Coppolella, 38, joined the Braves in 2006 and replaced Frank Wren as the club’s general manager after the 2014 season. He has been publicly commended for his strong work in trades and rebuilding the Braves farm system in recent years despite reported distaste for his tactics among other executives.
With Coppolella surprisingly out, attention in Atlanta will shift to the future of manager Brian Snitker, who may not be retained for next season. If Snitker is fired, the Braves would be the fourth club with a managerial vacancy, joining the Mets, Phillies and Tigers.