Atlanta Braves vice chairman John Schuerholz and president of baseball operations John Hart spoke with the New York Post’s Joel Sherman today and denied that their longtime friendship was deteriorating and that a rift exists in the team’s front office.
“Coppy (Coppolella) may have had problems with John Schuerholz, but John brought me in out of my perfect life to come here,” Hart said. “John is a dear friend. We have gone to lunch three times this week. Our families will go to dinner. No one in baseball agrees on everything. John is proud of the guys here and all of that. That one (that we are feuding) is laughable. John is my best friend in the game. Working with him is a joy and fun. He is stepping back (from baseball operations), way back, he has for the last year-plus. … He is a special guy. I love the man, I do.”
Schuerholz told Sherman that his relationship with Hart was “as good and as strong as it has been.”
FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Thursday morning that Schuerholz and Hart were feuding over decisions in the front office. The report also stated that Schuerholz desired to bring in Kansas City GM Dayton Moore to take on a Hart’s role.
Schuerholz declined comment to Sherman in regards to Moore due to his current status as an employee of the Royals.
Sherman also broached the idea that Coppolella’s failures were a result of a hands off approach by Hart. Since Coppolella’s dismissal, it has been floated around that Hart was largely absent and regularly returning to Orlando to play golf.
Hart denied that to Sherman saying it was not “an accurate portrayal” and went on to say that he had played less than 10 rounds of golf this year.
We now have conflicting reports over the current state of the Braves’ front office. With the MLB investigation ongoing, we may not see any more changes in the front office until the investigation is concluded.