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Braves to promote Coppolella to GM position

The Braves named John Coppolella as their new general manager Thursday, promoting him from assistant GM and giving him a four-year contract that runs through the first three seasons at their new Cobb County ballpark opening in 2017.tmpplchld "John has done amazing work for this organization, especially over the last twelve months, and this move keeps us in position to continue the important process that we began last October," said John Hart, who will continue as Braves president of baseball operations.tmpplchld While the team has had no one with the general-manager title since Frank Wren was fired Sept. 21, 2014, Coppolella and Hart shared the GM duties, with Coppolella doing much of the negotiating and procedural work involved in an extremely busy 12 months that saw the Braves make a multitude of trades as they sought to rebuild the farm system.tmpplchld The promotion of Coppolella, 37, to the GM title shouldn't have much of any effect on the chain of command or the way the Braves conduct player-personnel business and transactions. From an organizational standpoint, the biggest plus in making the move is that it will keep other teams from potentially luring away Coppolella to another GM or similar high-level position at a time when there are several attractive job openings around the majors.tmpplchld Copppolella, a Notre Dame graduate, began his career as an intern in the Yankees' front office, worked his way up the ladder in their scouting department and earned a reputation for hard work and a keen sense of both the analytical/statistical side of baseball as well as the traditional insights provided by scouts. He has been rated as a rising star in executive ranks for several years by industry insiders and baseball publications including Baseball America.tmpplchld Coppolella is completing his ninth season with the Braves and third as assistant GM. He served as director of baseball operations from 2006 through 2010 and was promoted to director of professional scouting in 2011, then to assistant GM after the 2012 season.tmpplchld When the Braves promoted Hart form an advisory role and semi-retirement to his current position last October, they made it clear that Coppolella _ "Coppy" to friends and associates _ would be his right-hand man and a top candidate for the GM job at some point in the future, perhaps the near future.tmpplchld They wanted to continue grooming him for the role by having him work alongside Hart, a longtime former GM who's highly respected for his baseball acumen and ability to interact with everyone from his own managers and coaches to other teams' executives, agents and players.tmpplchld The Braves brought in a bevy of prospects and future draft picks through a series of trades that began in earnest last November with the deal that sent Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden to the Cardinals in exchange for starting pitchers Shelby Miller and prospect Tyrell Jenkins.tmpplchld The trade frenzy continued with big offseason deal that sent away Justin Upton and Evan Gattis, the eve-of-opening-day megadeal that sent Craig Kimbrel and Melvin Upton Jr. (and his onerous contract) to the Padres, and in-season trades including a huge one in July that brought Hector Olivera from the Dodgers as part of a 13-player, three-team swap that sent Braves pitchers Alex Wood, Luis Avilan and Jim Johnson, plus top infield prospect Jose Peraza, to the Dodgers.tmpplchld Say what you will about the moves, but Hart and Coppolella have been anything but timid.tmpplchld Bold strokes were required, they said, in order to get the organization back on solid footing for many years to come, even if it meant taking a step (or multiple steps) back in 2015, a season in which the Braves have compiled a 63-95 record with four games to play. It's their worst season in nearly a quarter-century, since the Braves finished 63-97 in 1990 _ before their famous worst-to-first season of 1991 that began their unprecedented run of 14 consecutive division titles.tmpplchld The Braves believed an overhaul and realignment of their scouting department and on-field rebuilding project was necessary in order to get the franchise back on track, with the aim of being a serious contender when they move into their new Cobb County ballpark in 2017.tmpplchld ___tmpplchld (c)2015 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)tmpplchld Visit The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.) at www.ajc.comtmpplchld Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.tmpplchld

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