A recap of the top stories featured at MLBTR over the past week:
Chaos in Atlanta: A bombshell dropped Monday in Atlanta with the resignations of general manager John Coppolella, who stepped down after two years on the job, and special assistant Gordon Blakely. Coppolella and Blakeley were forced out amid an investigation from Major League Baseball into their international and domestic practices. The league’s investigation into Coppolella’s alleged violations on the international market is ongoing, and it could negate the Braves’ 2016 signing of high-end prospect Kevin Maitan. The 17-year-old Maitan will become a free agent again if MLB voids his contract with Atlanta, which inked the infielder to a $4.25MM bonus two summers ago. While they await word on Maitan’s future, the Braves are on the lookout for a new GM. President of baseball operations John Hart is filling that role for now.
Changes coming to Mets’ dugout: No one predicted Coppolella’s demise, but there was little doubt Terry Collins would be out as the NL East rival Mets’ manager after the season. The 68-year-old Collins ultimately stepped down on his own, shifting to the team’s front office after seven seasons as its skipper. The Collins-led Mets went 551-583 with two playoff berths, one of which ended with a five-game World Series loss to the Royals in 2015. Longtime pitching coach Dan Warthen is out, too, though he could join Collins in taking another job in the organization.
Security for other managers: Collins’ career as a manager is likely over, but former colleagues Brian Snitker (Braves) and Jeff Banister (Rangers) will continue in their current positions for at least a bit longer. The Braves’ front office is in flux, as mentioned, but there’s stability in the dugout with Snitker, who will be back next season after they exercised his 2018 option. Banister was already under contract for next year, but he’ll avoid lame-duck status – the Rangers picked up his 2019 option on Wednesday. Meanwhile, on the heels of a Cinderella season, the Twins are working to re-up Paul Molitor.
Derek Jeter in charge in Miami: Jeter and businessman Bruce Sherman agreed to purchase the Marlins for $1.2 billion in mid-August. Nearly two months later, they officially took the keys from the team’s previous owner, the beleaguered Jeffrey Loria. In the introductory press conference Jeter and Sherman held Tuesday, the former Yankees shortstop and future Hall of Famer acknowledged a need “to rebuild the organization,” adding that some “unpopular decisions” could be in the offing.
Rangers finally release Prince Fielder: The former first baseman announced in August 2016 that he wouldn’t play again on account of neck issues, but he didn’t officially retire because doing so would have cost him the remainder of his contract. As a result, the Rangers kept Fielder on their 40-man roster until Wednesday, when they released the 33-year-old after negotiating a deal with the insurer paying part of his salary. Fielder is owed $24MM per annum through 2020 on the nine-year, $214MM contract he signed with the Tigers in 2012.