The Braves were said to have been especially brazen in such practices for years. In September, they signed a coveted shortstop from South Korea, Ji-Hwan Bae, for the $300,000 minimum, with a side agreement to pay him an extra $600,000. Mezquita, Rojas, Sucre and Bae were among the 13 players declared free agents on Tuesday, though Bae’s contract had not become effective.
Baseball also penalized the Braves well into the future, prohibiting them from signing any international players for more than $10,000 in 2020 and slashing their bonus pool by half in 2021. They will not have a full international bonus allotment until 2022.
The Braves also forfeited their third-round draft pick in 2018 for offering a car to a 2017 draft choice, an effort to persuade him to sign for a lower bonus.
In a statement, Commissioner Rob Manfred said he was confident the Braves’ leadership would “put in place procedures to ensure that this type of conduct never occurs again.”
Coppolella, 38, resigned last month as baseball began its investigation. A special assistant, Gordon Blakeley, also resigned; he was suspended for one year on Tuesday. Coppolella and Blakely worked together for the Yankees in Tampa, Fla., in the early 2000s.
The Braves hired Alex Anthopoulos, a former Toronto Blue Jays general manager, to replace Coppolella last week. John Hart, the veteran executive who had outranked Coppolella as president of baseball operations, was not implicated in the scandal but resigned on Friday.
Coppolella, who did not respond to a request for comment, became the fourth living person on baseball’s permanently ineligible list, joining Pete Rose, Jenrry Mejia and Chris Correa.
Rose, the career hits leader, was banished in 1989 for betting on his own team as manager of the Cincinnati Reds. Mejia, a former Mets reliever, failed three steroid tests and was banned in 2016. Correa, the former St. Louis Cardinals scouting director, was punished in January for hacking into the Houston Astros’ database.
The Braves, who reached the postseason 17 times between 1991 and 2013, have lost at least 90 games in each of the last three seasons. Besides Maitan, Mezquita, Rojas, Sucre and Bae, they lost the following players on Tuesday: Juan Contreras, Yefri del Rosario, Abraham Gutierrez, Juan Carlos Negret, Yenci Pena, Yunior Severino, Livan Soto and Guillermo Zuniga.