Braves set to make biggest international signing since sanctions

Ian Mejia

If you have been following the Braves long, you know all about the rise and fall of John Coppolella. “Coppy” came over to conduct a rebuild of the organization alongside veteran general manager John Hart, and ultimately laid the foundation for a young team that has morphed into the NL East champions in back-to-back seasons.

Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies were actually Frank Wren signings, so there is credit to be spread around past regimes for the Braves’ recent success, but Coppy was able to bring in players such as Austin Riley, Mike Soroka, Dansby Swanson, Mike Foltynewicz, Max Fried, Ender Inciarte, Nick Markakis, and Sean Newcomb during his time in Atlanta. By the time the team blossomed into a contender, however, he was banned by Major League Baseball.

In late 2017, the MLB came down hard on the Braves’ John Coppolella regime for infractions committed by the team in the international market. This led to the forfeiture of thirteen international players they had signed, who effectively became free agents. At the time, this was a massive blow to the organization, who had just signed what many considered to be an elite class headlined by Kevin Maitan.

None of these players have set the world on fire to this point, but the future restrictions on international signings have hurt the Braves most, though they have been able to maintain one of the better farm systems in baseball regardless. The MLB put strict limits on Atlanta in the international market for three seasons, disallowing them from signing any player for over $10,000 during the 2019-20 signing period, and their international bonus pool money for the 2020-21 signing period was reduced by 50 percent as well.

So basically, the Braves are almost halfway out of timeout. Starting on July 2nd, when the 20-21 signing period begins, they will be able to spend 50% of the usual international signing pool. On July 2nd, 2021, they will be able to operate on the international market the same as any other team. They finally are in a place where they can bring in legitimate prospects from outside the country again, and it seems they may have already found their guy for 2020.

This is Yeferson Tineo, who is from the Dominican Republic. You can find out a bit more about him here (Baseball America subscription required), but per Ben Badler, he is expected to be the top signing for Atlanta this summer. His defensive prowess is impressive, and it is fantastic to see that the Braves are almost out of the dog house. They have done a great job under Alex Anthopoulos with limited resources, and now he will have the opportunity to bring in talent from a much larger pool of players.

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