Following a disappointing 2014 season, Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz fired General Manager Frank Wren. It was believed that internal front-runners for the job included interim GM John Hart and Assistant General Manager John Coppolella. Some spectators suggested that the Braves may try to lure Kansas City Royals GM Dayton Moore back to Atlanta.
Fans were left in the dark for weeks.
On October 15, we learned that Hart rejected the GM offer from the Braves. Apparently the 66-year-old wasn’t interested in the position because of the rigors associated with the job. Shortly after, it became a joke on social media that Schuerholz would continue to pressure Hart until he agreed to become GM.
Fox Sports MLB reporter Ken Rosenthal believes Hart will hire a GM. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution suggest the club will not hire a GM. Instead, Coppolella will serve as Hart’s left hand man for a few years. This will allow Hart to groom Coppolela until he is ready to become the full-time Braves GM.
About John Hart
John Hart was born in 1948 in Tampa, Florida. He attended Seminole Junior College where he played catcher for their baseball team. In 1969 he began his professional career for the Montreal Expos. He was catcher for them for three seasons before returning to Florida. Hart was a high school baseball coach in Orlando before joining with the Baltimore Orioles organization in 1982 as a minor league manager. He moved to their major league team in 1988.
In 1989 John Hart joined the Cleveland Indians as a special teams scout. Hart quickly moved through the ranks in the Indians organization, from Director of Baseball Operations to General Manager and Executive Vice President. During Harts’ 11 years with the club, the Indians won six AL Central division titles and appeared in the World Series twice. Since his departure in 2001, the Indians have appeared in post-seasons a mere two times.
In November of 2001, John Hart took the general manager position with the Texas Rangers. In 2005 Hart stepped down as General Manager and became Senior Adviser to the owner. His contract was extended through 2013 in exchange for him not accepting any other General Manager positions with any other clubs.
In 2013 Hart’s contract with the Rangers came to an end, and he signed with the Atlanta Braves as Senior Advisor of Baseball Operations.
2015 Braves Season and Beyond
Hart agreed to serve as the President of Baseball Operations through 2017. He will play a key role designing the Braves roster moving forward. It’s no secret the team is limited in their payroll entering the offseason. Last year, the club spent $116 million and as the roster currently stands, they have commited $105 million.
Dan Uggla’s $13.2 million contract is still on the books. Additionally, several key players like Freddie Freeman are receiving a large pay raise. Rumors are circulating that the club may try to move BJ Upton. As a result, Braves beat writer Mark Bowman says they club may listen to offers for Evan Gattis, Justin Upton, and Jason Heyward in efforts to move BJ.
The Braves recently brought back several executive that helped shape the team of the 90s. Hart and company will face some obstacles. But like others, I believe the club is headed in the right direction.