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MLB investigating Yankees, Mets over Aaron Judge’s free agency; Rob Manfred ‘confident’ there was no collusion

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At the request of the MLB Players Association, Major League Baseball is investigating whether the owners of the New York Yankees and New York Mets had inappropriate reports regarding free agent Aaron Judge. reports The Athletic. MLB is expected to solicit text, phone and email communications between Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner and Mets owner Steve Cohen.

The MLBPA request comes from November 3 articles 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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On Thursday, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred spoke to reporters about the matter. That’s what he said 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 notes 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.

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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 an owner conspiracy to withhold free agent salaries, as they did over 30 years ago in some of the biggest collusion cases in sports.

If the union files a complaint about the situation with the Mets and Yankees, an arbitrator will determine if 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.

On Wednesday, Verlander was unanimously named the winner of AL Cy Young.. The judge is the overwhelming favorite to be named AL MVP on Thursday after his 62nd season. Our R.J. Anderson named the judge free agent #1 and Verlander #6..




Source: www.cbssports.com

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