12:31pm: Badler now adds that two other players will be set loose: shortstop Yunior Severino and righty Juan Contreras. The four players identified to this point were those that received the biggest contracts of the organization’s 2016-17 haul, Badler notes.
Badler notes on Twitter that the league will be crafting ad hoc rules to govern the signing situation that will apply to these players.
10:27am: The Braves will lose their rights to highly regarded prospect Kevin Maitan, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter), as part of the punishment for international signing violations. Other members of the 2016-17 July 2 class are also expected to be stripped from the organization, others have reported, with additional penalties perhaps also yet to be assessed.
While the full scope of the punitive measures remains to be seen, the Braves obviously stand to be hit hard for the amateur infractions that occurred during the regime of president of baseball operations John Hart and GM John Coppolella. Those two executives have departed already (see here and here). Newly minted GM Alex Anthopoulos will still have plenty of talent to work with, but the cupboard of young talent won’t be quite as stocked as the organization had hoped when it snapped up an impressive group of international free agents — evidently, through illicit means.
Maitan, in particular, was viewed as one of the best young international players in recent memory at the time of signing. Despite a tough debut in the Appalachian League, the infielder ranks 38th on MLB.com’s latest list of the top prospects in baseball. Even if it’s true that the current front office is not quite as enamored with Maitan as some others, he’s a notable asset to lose.
Certainly, other organizations will take a close look at Maitan and any others who end up shaking free from the Atlanta organization. Indications are that they will be allowed to keep their original bonuses but will still be subject to international pool restrictions in their re-entry. There’s still some pool availability floating around — some of it likely earmarked for Shohei Ohtani and a few other quality names still available — and there could be quite some competition for the former Braves prospects.