Braves promote John Coppolella to general manager

ATLANTA (AP) The Atlanta Braves promoted John Coppolella to general manager on Thursday following three seasons as assistant GM.

Coppolella agreed to a four-year contract through the 2019 season, which will include the first three seasons at Atlanta's new SunTrust Park.

''When John Schuerholz took over as general manager 25 years ago, he won 14 straight (division) titles,'' Coppolella said. ''It has been nearly 10 years since he has been out of the GM chair and we've won one title. We want to get back to where we can go to five World Series in nine years, which is what was done here in the 1990s.''

Braves president of baseball operations John Hart announced the move. The 37-year-old Coppolella enters his ninth year with the team.

''He is one of the bright and creative minds in our game today,'' Hart said. ''There is going to be no stone left unturned with John.''

The Braves made several moves this season they hope will put them in a better position for the future. They traded All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel and Melvin Upton before the season started, then dealt Kelly Johnson, Juan Uribe, Alex Wood, Jim Johnson, Luis Avilan and Chris Johnson during the season.

The moves left the Braves with more payroll flexibility, but the team collapsed in the second half and is 64-94 entering the final games of the season.

The promotion was expected. Coppolella has worked with Hart since October 2014 in all duties normally handled by a general manager, including player evaluations and contract negotiations.

''I never felt like he wasn't the GM,'' said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. ''He made all the moves as a general manager. Our relationship has always been as a manager-general manager. Now he gets the title.''

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