Back in November of 2017, former Braves general manager John Coppolella was hit with a severe punishment from Major League Baseball. Whether it was called a "lifetime ban" or MLB said he was placed on the "permanently ineligible" list, the punishment was to keep Coppolella out of baseball for the rest of his life.
Instead, MLB has lifted the ban, the league confirmed Monday. "We can confirm that Mr. Coppolella has been reinstated, given the more than five years he spent on the ineligible list, the contrition he expressed and the other steps he took in response to this matter," MLB said in a statement.
Coppolella's suspension in 2017 was due to circumventing international signing limits due to an illegal practice referred to a "bundling." Due to this practice, the Braves heavily under-reported signing bonuses for a number of international players and were forced to release 12 of them. They were hit with several punishments as a team in addition to the Coppolella ban.
Coppolella released a statement to The Athletic, thanking MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.
"I want to thank Commissioner Manfred for granting my application for removal from the Ineligible List. I am deeply appreciative of so many people who have been involved in this process, including (executive vice president of legal and operations) Bryan Seeley and (senior vice president of investigations and deputy general counsel) Moira Weinberg at Major League Baseball."
Coppolella joined the Braves as director of baseball operations in 2006 and was director of professional scouting by 2011. He was promoted to assistant general manager in 2011 and then general manager and president of baseball operations in 2014. Aside from the improprieties in the international market, his tenure as a baseball executive would've been considered successful. His thumbprints are all over the recent Braves' successes. He had a hand in acquiring talent like Ronald Acuña, Austin Riley, Max Fried, Ozzie Albies and several others.
Since being banned from baseball, Coppolella has apparently been working for time-share companies and has also earned his MBA in finance. There's no word on whether he'd want to immediately return to a front office, but he specifically mentioned in his statement that he applied for reinstatement.
Would be immediately be hired back into a top job? That's a question for the owners of the league, but there is one major opening: The Astros still haven't filled their general manager job since .