As a result of the Braves’ transgressions on the foreign market from 2015-17, former international scouting director and special assistant Gordon Blakeley lost his job in October and received a one-year ban from Major League Baseball last month. Now, Blakeley is preparing to meet with members of the team’s ownership group, Liberty Media, on Dec. 14 to discuss those violations, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports. Blakeley contends that there were high-ranking Braves officials aware of what he and permanently banned ex-GM John Coppollela were doing, per O’Brien, and it seems he’s set to name names in his meeting with ownership. To this point, MLB has punished Blakeley, Coppolella and the team itself, which the league stripped of 13 prospects the prior regime signed. Former president John Hart has dodged discipline from MLB thus far, but he’s now out of the Atlanta organization.
More from around the game:
- Free agent left-hander Xavier Cedeno is generating “a lot of interest from other clubs” in the wake of the Rays’ decision to non-tender him on Friday, agent Melvin Roman told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link). However, the reliever hasn’t ruled out re-signing with the Rays, who elected against tendering him at a projected $1.4MM. The 31-year-old Cedeno missed nearly all of 2017 on account of forearm issues, but he was a strong member of the Rays’ bullpen from 2015-16, registering a 2.88 ERA, 9.18 K/9 and 2.67 BB/9 across 84 1/3 innings. He also logged a 51.3 percent groundball rate during that stretch.
- Joe Trezza of MLB.com profiles Japanese reliever Kazuhisa Makita, who was quietly posted along with the far more hyped Shohei Ohtani on Friday. While Makita has pitched to a 2.83 ERA over 921 1/3 professional frames in his homeland, the submariner’s success has come in spite of a paucity of strikeouts (five per nine innings). It’s unclear how much interest the 33-year-old will garner from MLB teams, then, and Trezza relays (via reports from Japan) that Makita will consider staying put if he only draws minor league contract offers.
- The Padres are hiring Josh Johnson as their infield coach, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweets. The 31-year-old Johnson, who managed the GCL Nationals from 2016-17, isn’t to be confused with the former major league pitcher of the same name. In his new role, Johnson will take over for Ramon Vazquez, whom the Padres parted with after the season. With Johnson’s hiring, San Diego now has its full coaching staff for 2018.