Back when John Hart took over as President of Baseball Operations of the Atlanta Braves without taking the title of General Manager, it was widely assumed that this move was made so that the organization would be able to groom team executive John Coppolella to eventually take over the General Manager position. This turned out to be the case, as the Braves have decided to name Coppolella as the new GM of the Braves.
A formal announcement will be made during a Thursday afternoon news conference at Turner Field. Braves president of baseball operations John Hart will continue to oversee the department, but Coppolella will now have the title for the role he has essentially filled for the past year.
When the Braves dismissed Frank Wren as their GM on Sept. 21, 2014, they opted not to immediately fill his position. Hart was given his current title and the assignment to help mold Coppolella as he served as an assistant GM, performing many of the same duties as a GM.
It's not much of a surprise that Coppolella has been doing most of the GM work for the Braves this past season, but it's still pleasant to know that the Braves will be keeping one of the better young executives in baseball in their camp. There were rumors that Coppolella would be in the running for a number of vacant GM jobs, but it was also clear that the Braves' GM job was his to take if the team decided to give it to him, and they've done just that.
John Hart will remain in his role of President of Baseball Operations, but this move means that Coppolella will probably have even more power within the organization, even though it's clear that he still had plenty of clout if he was the one who was behind most of the GM work this past season. Either way, this is a solid move for the Braves. Coppolella is known for having a solid mix of sabermetric knowledge with a traditional eye for talent, which is definitely an optimal skill set to have in this position.
Now, Coppolella should have full reign to continue what's been a pretty aggressive rebuild of the Braves. All eyes are going to be on Coppolella, Hart, and the rest of the organization as they continue towards their goal of being competitive by the time they move to Cobb County in 2017.