MLB clears Yankees, Mets of collusion over Aaron Judge’s free agency, per report

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Major League Baseball found that the owners of the New York Yankees and New York Mets did not collude to stifle the market for free-agent hitters Aaron Judge. reports the New York Post. The MLB findings, however, do not end the case as the MLBPA can still file a complaint for a hearing before an arbitrator.

At the request of the MLB Players Association, Major League Baseball conducted an investigation into whether the Yankees and the Mets had made inappropriate reports regarding Judge.

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The MLBPA request comes from November 3 article SNY which cites Mets sources and says that Steinbrenner and Cohen “enjoy a mutually respectful relationship and don’t expect to ruin it with a high-profile bidding war.” The union is always on the lookout for anything that could be collusion between clubs to cut players’ wages.

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Commissioner Rob Manfred has denied any rumors that the teams are working together to take away Judge’s fair agency. Via Evan Drellich:

“I am absolutely sure that the behavior of the clubs was in accordance with the agreement. It was based on a newspaper report. We will try to convincingly demonstrate to the MLBPA that this is not a problem. I’m sure this will be the result. But obviously we understand the emotions that surround this word. [collusion] and we will act accordingly.”

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The Athletic also noted a separate comment by Houston Astros owner Jim Crane regarding free agent Justin Verlander that could also draw MLBPA attention. Crane recently revealed that Verlander is looking for a contract with Max Scherzer., which means a highly paid three-year contract. The collective agreement strictly forbids clubs from publicly discussing contract negotiations.

More from Athletic:

The union reserves the right to file a complaint in one or both situations. To win the case, the union will need to prove that the markets for Judge and/or Verlander have been hurt, which can be tricky considering they are the two most desirable free agents in the offseason. But the union remains sensitive to the threat of owners conspiring to withhold free agent pay, as they did over 30 years ago in some of the biggest collusion cases in sports.

If the union files a complaint about the Mets and Yankee situation, an arbitrator will determine whether there was collusion. The trade union will separately need to prove that the judge was harmed. He will stand to take triple damage.

The MLBPA filed three collusion complaints in the 1980s, and independent arbitrators ruled that the owners worked together to prevent bidding wars between free agents. MLB and MLBPA later agreed to a $280 million settlement. The owners also agreed to pay $12 million without plea in 2006 following conspiracy lawsuits in 2002 and 2003.

Verlander was unanimously named the winner of AL Cy Young last week.the day before Judge was named AL MVP after his 62-homer season. Our R.J. Anderson named the judge free agent #1 and Verlander #6..


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