The Athletic reports that the MLB Players Association has requested that Major League Baseball investigate whether owners of the New York Yankees and New York Mets had improper communications regarding free agent Aaron Judge, constituting a violation of baseball’s collective bargaining agreement. MLB is expected to request text, phone, and email records between Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner and Mets owner Steve Cohen.
The MLBPA’s request stems from an article published Nov. 3 on SNY TV, the Mets’ television network’s website, which cited Mets sources and stated Steinbrenner and Cohen “enjoy a mutually respectful relationship, and do not expect to upend that with a high-profile bidding war” for Judge. Details in the story caught the attention of the Players Association, which asked the Commissioner’s Office to investigate whether improper communication occurred between the respective owners of the clubs, according to sources briefed on the situation.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred addressed the matter with reporters on Thursday, saying: “I’m absolutely confident that the clubs behaved in a way that was consistent with the agreement. This was based on a newspaper report. We will put ourselves in a position to demonstrate credibly to the MLBPA that this is not an issue. I’m sure that’s going to be the outcome. But obviously we understand the emotion that surrounds that word [collusion] and we’ll proceed accordingly.”
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