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Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Braves’ John Hart talks about John Coppolella | MLB.com

With Coppolella gone, Hart now must oversee and handle more of the daily responsibilities in a front office full of new faces.
“We won’t miss a beat going forward,” Hart said while trying to remain optimistic during the early stages of an unenviable development.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 03, 2017 at 09:38 AM | 27 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: braves

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   1. Jeff Francoeur's OPS Posted: October 03, 2017 at 01:41 PM (#5543520)
Frank Wren:
Fired for being an ####### and wrecking the farm.

John Coppolella:
Fired for being an ####### and building the farm.

The Braves seem to be shitty evaluators of front office personnel.
   2. Bote Man Posted: October 03, 2017 at 02:44 PM (#5543561)
John Hart was also quoted as saying, "Look..."
   3. bfan Posted: October 03, 2017 at 03:24 PM (#5543607)
Once the dust settles, it will be interesting to see if someone in the liberty media hierarchy asks who pushed for the hiring of Coppollela; who was looking at him and managing him in his early years of performance, to make sure he wasn't doing the wrong thing.

When something goes terribly awry, it may have been a situation where no rational party would have acted any differently, but in the end, someone is responsible for that hire. Maybe they skate because it looked like a grand idea at the time, but someone pushed the hire. Was it McGuirk? Hart? Schuerholtz? after that, who was managing and evaluating his performance? Come on guys; this is an organization with reporting relationships and accountability.
   4. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 03, 2017 at 03:38 PM (#5543629)
With Coppolella gone, Hart now must oversee and handle more of the daily responsibilities...


Bad break for him. He might have to actually leave the golf course once in a while now.
   5. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 03, 2017 at 03:44 PM (#5543642)
What did John Hart know, and when did he know It?
   6. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: October 03, 2017 at 03:45 PM (#5543645)
Once the dust settles, it will be interesting to see if someone in the liberty media hierarchy asks


I would be shocked. Liberty is about as hands-off as you can imagine a "owner" to be. Liberty owns a financial instrument called "the Atlanta Braves." That is all they know or care about. They give that instrument a budget and high level direction as to expected profit margins, and the management of that instrument - Terry McQuirk and John Schuerholz - are responsible for hitting those numbers. I doubt Liberty's management even know, much less care, about the office politics and comings and goings of management personnel within that financial instrument.
   7. bfan Posted: October 03, 2017 at 04:37 PM (#5543710)
I would be shocked. Liberty is about as hands-off as you can imagine a "owner" to be.


You may well be right (I really do not know how Liberty operates), but this isn't as if Ethel in accounting double-charged the company for filling the common candy jar. If it is true that JC engaged in activities that are illegal under the MLB rules, then he has screwed the pooch for both his on the field and off the field activities, and I cannot imagine that Liberty's answer to that would be to tell McGuirk/Schuerholtz they are going to need to get more monthly rent for the apartments.
   8. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: October 03, 2017 at 04:52 PM (#5543716)
Obviously information is still trickling out slowly, and I certainly have no insight into what he may or may not have done mores than anyone else on the outside looking in. But from what I have seen to date, there's nothing HUGELY untoward we've been shown. That could change as more of the investigation's findings become public, but as of right now, "joking" to a guy about closing the below-slot money gap with "a new car" and being in early on a Haitian kid isn't exactly breaking new ground for international free agent shenanigans.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: October 03, 2017 at 05:24 PM (#5543735)
Given all the rumors about mistreatment of employees and other FOs despising the guy, at a minimum he sounds like a jerk that nobody wants around anyway and certainly nobody will risk their own political capital to defend. And we don't know whether there's something serious behind the mistreatment of employees (sexual harassment, racial epithets, hit somebody, got drunk and threw up on Schuerholz). As #8 says, the shenanigans we've heard about hardly seem outrageous relative to past issues and maybe normally it would have been an assistant to take the fall -- but if nobody wants the guy around, nobody will protect him and that's when #### starts rising to the executive level.**

I suspect Liberty will only go searching beyond this if it hurts the bottom line or it somehow tarnishes Liberty's reputation. Given nobody outside of Atlanta and baseball nerd-dom even knows that Liberty owns the Braves, the latter is very unlikely. Personally, I wouldn't be focused so much on "who was responsible for hiring this guy?" as "who was responsible for supervising this guy?" A supervisor who doesn't notice that his report is breaking the rules and being a jerk to everybody ... or does nothing or at least nothing effective to fix it ... should get called to the principal's office. And if that was Hart, I wouldn't put him in temporary charge.

** BITD, I always used to say that no academic was denied tenure because of poor teaching. That might have been the excuse they used but the real reasons were a lack of publications and/or shitty interpersonal relationships with the rest of the faculty. I still say it occasionally but tenure for junior faculty is no longer a joking matter. JC's job probably could have been saved if Schuerholz or Hart wanted to.
   10. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: October 04, 2017 at 08:14 AM (#5544144)
Personally, I wouldn't be focused so much on "who was responsible for hiring this guy?" as "who was responsible for supervising this guy?" A supervisor who doesn't notice that his report is breaking the rules and being a jerk to everybody ... or does nothing or at least nothing effective to fix it ... should get called to the principal's office. And if that was Hart, I wouldn't put him in temporary charge.


Here's long time Braves beat writer Bill Shanks (The Macon Telegraph) on that subject:

Part of the problem is the lack of a leader. This organization has an absent ownership. Liberty Media treats the Braves as a piece of property gained in a land swap. Liberty executives barely have seen Braves games since taking over a decade ago.

There is no face of the franchise, no point man. Since Stan Kasten left after the 2003 season, there has been no accountability. It has been a roller-coaster, and including the tenure of former GM Frank Wren, a slow deterioration of the philosophies that once made the Braves special.

Instead, Liberty has allowed Terry McGuirk, a longtime Braves executive who is not considered a baseball man, to have the final say. He, in turn, gave John Hart and Coppolella keys to the car, which has now resulted in an embarrassing conflict.

Coppolella is gone, and Hart should be, too. Hart worked side-by-side with Coppolella throughout the past three years, so to think he had no knowledge of the alleged violations is unrealistic. Plus, Hart deserves equal blame in creating an unhealthy culture in the organization.

Hart’s respect with other executives and scouts eroded throughout the season. Instead of being a role model for Coppolella, Hart allowed Coppolella to run the organization and make changes at will. Many were amazed Hart could not get off the golf course long enough to make sure someone was there to watch over Coppolella.


Now, it bears mentioning that Shanks is pretty well known to be "the guy John Schuerholz calls when he needs a friendly story published," and Shanks has been on this bandwagon - which is the JS faction of the Braves front office's bandwagon - for Dayton Moore, for a very long time. Back when Bobby Cox stepped down there was a big internal struggle between hiring Frank Wren (new blood) or Dayton Moore (a guy JS had been grooming as a protege for years.) Obviously the Wren/"new blood" faction won out there, and Moore went on to KC where his franchise has appeared in a lot more playoff scenarios than any Braves team since his departure. But the point about Schuerholz being 77 and more or less only operating as part of the senior board (and being mostly involved in the Stadium boondoggle, and not the day to day operations of the baseball team) is valid and true as far as I can tell.

And just for completion's sake, Jeff Wren - Frank's brother, who was unceremoniously booted from his perch as Director of Scouting and Development when his big bro lost the GM job to Coppy - has been waging a Twitter war against any an all things Braves for a while now, and is strongly pushing the notion that Hart AND JS were "complicit" in the gamesmanship in the international FA market. (I don't actually trust that this is true; he's a bitter ex-employee with an ax to grind.)
   11. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: October 04, 2017 at 08:21 AM (#5544145)
In other news, at this point you more or less have to discuss the Braves' front office and management goings-on as if you're a westerner doing Kremlinology at a distance during the Cold War. That's... not good.
   12. PreservedFish Posted: October 04, 2017 at 08:32 AM (#5544147)
In the last few years I've mocked the Braves for having so many "special assistant" sinecures and for there being zero apparent clarity in the job descriptions or the part-time C-suiters Schuerholz and Hart. I didn't realize that I was actually right about it. And I was just a guy trolling their org chart on MLB.com! It's a little pathetic that fundamental organizational flaws could be immediately obvious to the most cursory of observers.
   13. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: October 04, 2017 at 08:48 AM (#5544154)
In the last few years I've mocked the Braves for having so many "special assistant" sinecures


On this subject, Kiley McDaniel, who was a scouting writer at FanGraphs until Coppy hired him into the Braves morass as an "Asst. Director of Baseball Ops" was reassigned yesterday. He is now a "West Coast Crosschecker."
   14. PreservedFish Posted: October 04, 2017 at 08:52 AM (#5544156)
So who is doing the reassigning? Hart? Is it still unclear?
   15. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: October 04, 2017 at 09:09 AM (#5544164)
So who is doing the reassigning? Hart? Is it still unclear?


Last I heard it was Hart. But again, this is like choppy radio signals stolen from the aether over the walls of East Berlin. I wouldn't be shocked if JS has been putting real hours in at the Braves offices this week as well. It's still his baby, and the Shanks piece indicates some real desire internally to punt Hart along with Coppy and throw money at Dayton Moore until he agrees to "come home." That would be a Schuerholz play if it happens.
   16. asinwreck Posted: October 04, 2017 at 12:50 PM (#5544389)
Kansas City speculation is Dayton Moore can take over this team if that's what he wants. Do Atlanta reporters agree?
   17. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 04, 2017 at 01:04 PM (#5544400)
Many were amazed Hart could not get off the golf course long enough to make sure someone was there to watch over Coppolella.


Honestly, I'm kind of surprised that they're surprised. Hart has been an absentee landlord as a front office figure since he joined the Rangers, if not before.

On this subject, Kiley McDaniel, who was a scouting writer at FanGraphs until Coppy hired him into the Braves morass as an "Asst. Director of Baseball Ops" was reassigned yesterday. He is now a "West Coast Crosschecker."


I liked Kiley's prospect writing a lot. Glad he's still got a decent-sounding job, even if it's an implicit demotion.
   18. PreservedFish Posted: October 04, 2017 at 02:04 PM (#5544459)
Seems like a sweet deal for Dayton, you don't have to deal with the crash of the team you built and you inherit a new stadium and top farm system. I bet the Atlanta GM's new office is pretty plush!
   19. bigglou115 is not an Illuminati agent Posted: October 04, 2017 at 03:24 PM (#5544520)
@18, sounds like he only wants to move if it's too the president's seat, which means Hart would have to vacate it.

I also wouldn't be too sure on the top farm system. Were do you figure the braves rank of they lose Maitan and Pache? Further, they're looking into the drafts, so what do they look like without Wright and Waters as well? I've even heard some implications that Allard and Soroka might be in the table. If it's worst case the braves could be taking about losing 5-7 guys who have an argument for top 10 prospects in the system. I think right now Braves fans are crossing their fingers and hoping whatever comes is enough that we stay in the top 5 of farm systems. I think most of us are assuming Maitan is gone at the least.

Also, maybe someone can help me out on this. Why is there an implicit assumption that the Braves get any part of the revenue from the battery? Liberty can't add it subtract money from the Braves, so if the battery isn't considered part of the Braves then they see no benefit from it. That just leaves whatever attendance bump they got for the new park which surely isn't enough to even out their terrible tv deal.

Point being, the Braves could come out of this pretty badly crippled. Especially if they organize the Braves in the draft and the IFA prices (likely if they find that there were improprieties in both), combined with a big loss of top end talent on the farm.
   20. flournoy Posted: October 04, 2017 at 05:07 PM (#5544563)
Schuerholz doesn't strike me as a very pleasant man to work for. Frank Wren was widely heralded as being hand-picked and trained by Schuerholz. Yet when it was time for Wren to be fired, Schuerholz was pretty quick to point fingers and pass the blame, even though that was "his guy." It seems like he's developed a similar tone here. I get why, but kicking someone on his way out the door is always a bad look.

Somehow he reminds me of my first boss. When meeting with customers, when he was ostensibly there to support his employees, this guy always immediately went on the attack and started grilling us with all these questions. His line of inquiry was usually irrelevant and out-of-scope for our project, but it still made us look bad. I guess he wanted to loudly convey that if there were any problems, it was obviously the fault of his no-good underlings and he had nothing to do with it. (At the end, I considered countering by asking why my paycheck was going on two months late. This guy was a lot less successful than Mr. Schuerholz.)
   21. Walt Davis Posted: October 05, 2017 at 03:02 AM (#5544860)
#19 ... MLB has never come down on a team at anything close to the level you're considering. I'll be surprised if they lose a single player and stunned if they lose 4 or 5. If a player's agent can make the case that somehow his client was screwed, then maybe that player would be declared an FA (e.g. Travis Lee when Boras worked a loophole). But the Dodgers got in trouble for Beltre years ago and kept Beltre; the Braves got in trouble for Andruw Jones (or was it Betemit?) and got to keep the player; the Red Sox just got in trouble and didn't lose a player. The Braves will get smacked hard on future international signing restrictions, maybe lose a draft pick or two (not first round I wouldn't think) so future talent flows may be somewhat damaged.

Anyway, unless a player can make a legit case, the players are staying put by my reckoning. Given some of this seems to be undeclared payments, guarantees at young ages, etc. I'm not sure the players will have much of a case. I guess there is some possibility of a team claiming "he'd have been ours" but that would be hard to prove and still can't see MLB transferring that player to the other team.

Hart worked side-by-side with Coppolella throughout the past three years
Instead of being a role model for Coppolella, Hart allowed Coppolella to run the organization and make changes at will. Many were amazed Hart could not get off the golf course long enough to make sure someone was there to watch over Coppolella.

Was he working side-by-side with him or was he on the golf course paying no attention? You can't have both. (Sure, he could have been side-by-side for the first year then absentee but you can't have both for three years.)
   22. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 05, 2017 at 05:12 AM (#5544862)
. . . the Red Sox just got in trouble and didn't lose a player.

When the Red Sox were caught violating the rules by pooling international bonus payments, the contracts of the 5 players who received above the $300K cap were all voided, they were declared to be free agents, and the Red Sox were banned from signing international free agents for a year. That seems like losing some players.

Without knowing the specifics of the Braves rule violations, it's difficult to say if their punishment will be comparable, but it's possible MLB could come down harder on them since the Red Sox case made clear that this sort of thing was frowned upon. No Costanza defense.
   23. jmurph Posted: October 05, 2017 at 09:44 AM (#5544903)
the Red Sox just got in trouble and didn't lose a player.

Yeah I was also confused about this claim. Not that much has come out yet, but this Braves thing is being portrayed as the same general idea but probably worse, and maybe also impacting the draft? They're obviously going to void some contracts, as they did with Boston.
   24. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: October 05, 2017 at 10:30 AM (#5544936)
My understanding of the extra income for the Braves, from The Battery ATL, is due to 1) it being built and owned by the Braves (the division of Liberty that operates the club) and thus part of their margin streams), so 2) all of the rent and parking in those areas directly goes into the Braves' line items on the report back to corporate.
   25. Styles P. Deadball Posted: October 05, 2017 at 11:33 AM (#5544995)
MLB has never come down on a team at anything close to the level you're considering. I'll be surprised if they lose a single player and stunned if they lose 4 or 5.


I agree. Especially with the drafted players. The last thing MLB wants is for players who came through the draft system to be declared free agents so everyone can see just how much they'd be worth on the open market. I think they'll get some kind of financial penalty and the Braves will blame everything on Coppolella.
   26. Gaylord Perry the Platypus (oi!) Posted: October 05, 2017 at 12:45 PM (#5545073)
My understanding of the extra income for the Braves, from The Battery ATL, is due to 1) it being built and owned by the Braves (the division of Liberty that operates the club) and thus part of their margin streams), so 2) all of the rent and parking in those areas directly goes into the Braves' line items on the report back to corporate.

I'm working under the assumption that whenever Liberty sells the Braves, they'll keep at least the development around the ballpark, if not the park as well. That "enhanced revenue stream", whatever it may be now, will only last as long as Liberty keeps the team.
   27. Walt Davis Posted: October 05, 2017 at 08:59 PM (#5545602)
When the Red Sox were caught violating the rules by pooling international bonus payments, the contracts of the 5 players who received above the $300K cap were all voided, they were declared to be free agents, and the Red Sox were banned from signing international free agents for a year. That seems like losing some players.

I stand corrected.

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