John Hart, the Atlanta Braves‘ president of baseball operations, did not play a role in numerous rules violations that forced two club officials to resign in early October, a source told ESPN.
Major League Baseball is nearing the end of an investigation into the violations that prompted general manager John Coppolella and international scouting director Gordon Blakeley to resign after the regular season. The Braves broke MLB rules related to both the domestic amateur draft and the international signing market, the source confirmed.
The Braves are subject to a mix of sanctions that could include a fine, loss of picks in the June first-year draft and the loss of international pool space. Commissioner Rob Manfred’s office is expected to announce its findings in November after the completion of the World Series.
MLB’s investigation examined the Braves’ internal communications and determined that Coppolella acted without knowledge or approval from Hart or John Schuerholz, the team’s vice chairman, the source said. MLB is still trying to determine whether lower-level employees who worked under Coppolella were involved in any of the violations.
The source described Hart’s management style as “disengaged.” It is unclear whether Braves ownership will respond to the spate of rules violations with a major front-office overhaul, but the Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently reported that the Braves have asked the Washington Nationals for permission to interview team officials Doug Harris and Dan Jennings as potential successors to Coppolella.
Last week, the Braves asked the Kansas City Royals for permission to talk to general manager Dayton Moore about running their baseball operation, but Royals owner David Glass denied the request.