Those expecting a relatively uneventful first day of the MLB offseason received a rude wakeup call on Monday morning following the report that Atlanta Braves general manager John Coppolella would be resigning.

His special assistant, Gordon Blakeley, also would be leaving the organization.

Another report then indicated that MLB was investigating Coppolella following an anonymous complaint, and the investigation eventually focused on the team’s international spending.

Later Monday, the Braves officially announced his departure.

There’s a lot to unpack here.

First and foremost, the Braves are now in a terrible position, needing to go on the hunt for a general manager while also making a decision on embattled manager Brian Snitker (who will likely be retained, given that its the path of least resistance and that his major detractor in the front office was Coppolella.

The 2018 season was going to be a crucial one anyway for the Braves, given their slight improvement in 2017 and the graduation of several of their top prospects to the majors. The team could not afford a step back in 2018 like the Phillies suffered during the 2017 season.

And now, Coppolella is out, and the Braves are in search of their fourth GM since 2014 (remember, John Hart was the GM of the club in 2015 following Frank Wren’s firing prior to the end of the 2014 season). The turnover is troubling for an organization in a rebuild, as the overall direction can get muddled and players acquired by the previous regimes can be easily dumped aside, no matter how much they were valued.

The elephant in the room regards the power structure of Atlanta’s front office. John Schuerholz and Bobby Cox both hold considerable sway, and it’s not out of the question that both will continue to wield major influence for as long as they’re both able and living. Would a rising young executive from another organization be willing to jump into a desirable front office job with the Braves at the risk of having their moves controlled and monitored by Schuerholz, Cox, and John Hart? That’s what Coppolella did when he joined the Braves organization, and he eventually clashed with everyone before resigning today (over an investigation that we’re still learning details about).

There *is* an interesting point about Coppolella’s resignation – we haven’t seen ramifications like this about international signing rules since Jim Bowden resigned from the Nationals in 2009 after skimming bonuses.

Could the rules breach that resulted in Coppolella resigning have been as damning and severe as the investigation that cost Bowden his career as an executive, or was it merely the straw that broke the camel’s back and caused him to walk away from the front office infighting in Atlanta?

Early reports have lazily tied the Braves to Kansas City Royals GM Dayton Moore, a former Braves executive who is facing a tumultuous offseason in Kansas City. Moore refuted those reports, but even if there is a fire to go along with that smoke, the Braves would be better suited to go in another direction.

Why? Atlanta’s front office culture has been quite insular over the better part of three decades, with many of its top executives being nurtured and promoted from without. Coppolella, Blakeley, and Hart were three notable examples of outsiders that came from other organizations (as did former GM Frank Wren, who did serve as an assistant to Schuerholz for eight years before his promotion), and that’s the type of new thinking the Braves need. The organization hasn’t won a playoff series since 2001, and has won just two playoff games since 2006.

It’s time for new voices and faces in Atlanta’s front office, and it’s time for the legends working for the Braves to cede control of the franchise and not meddle in the affairs of the front office. Maybe it’s time to stop beating the drum about the “Braves Way” of the 1990s and live in the present.

About Joe Lucia

I'm the managing editor of Awful Announcing and the news editor of The Comeback. I also made The Outside Corner a thing for six seasons.