Why is MLB investigating the Yankees and Mets?
MLB is looking into complaints of improper communication between the Yankees and Mets regarding Aaron Judge’s free agency bid
It is being reported that the MLB Players Association has requested that MLB look into whether the owners of the New York Yankees and the New York Mets had improper communications regarding Aaron Judge’s free agency.
Text, telephone, and email records between Hal Steinbrenner and Steve Cohen are expected to be specifically requested to be made available to the league.
This comes in response to an SNY.com article in which it was stated that a source in the Mets organization had confirmed that Steinbrenner and Cohen “enjoy a mutually respectful relationship, and do not expect to upend that with a high-profile bidding war.”
The union’s ears immediately pricked up at the idea that two clubs could be colluding to drive down player salaries.
First reported by The Athletic, this case hinges on the prohibition of communication between clubs regarding a player’s free agency either outside of prescribed dates or publicly. The CBA specifically states that “Players shall not act in concert with other Players and Clubs shall not act in concert with other Clubs.”
In the off-seasons of 1985, 1986, and 1987 baseball owners were found to have colluded to keep players’ salaries artificially low under instruction to do so from then-commissioner Peter Ueberroth. Player anger over what they saw as theft ultimately led directly to the 1994 strike.
The owners paid a $280 million settlement in these cases. In 2006, they again paid $12 million without admitting guilt in a separate accusation over the 2002 and 2003 seasons.
The current investigation by MLB will also include the recent comments by Houston Astros owner Jim Crane that Justin Verlander was looking for a “Max Scherzer contract” which would mean a three-year deal worth around $130 million. The union feels that this may have violated the proscription from speaking publicly about player contract negotiations.
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