The New York Yankees and the New York Mets are being investigated by Major League Baseball over alleged conversations regarding Aaron Judge.
The star Yankees outfielder is a free agent and is expected to get a monster contract by an MLB team.
The Athletic is reporting that the MLB Players Association is looking into whether the two teams had improper communications regarding Judge’s upcoming contract.
Under MLB’s collective bargaining agreement, “Clubs shall not act in concert with other Clubs.”
For instance, if the MLBPA can prove the Mets’ reported decision to not bid against the Yankees somehow hurt Judge’s free agent market value, that would be a violation of the CBA.
The alleged “collusion” could lead to Judge receiving triple the amount in damages, according to The Athletic.
Get the popcorn ready.
THE MET’S SNY BROADCAST NETWORK AT FAULT
A November SNY article reported that the Mets were not expected to pursue Judge. SNY’s Andy Martino cites Mets sources that claim the Mets’ original position back in April has not changed.
The article adds that Mets owner Steve Cohen and Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner, “enjoy a mutually respectful relationship, and do not expect to upend that with a high-profile bidding war.”
The Players Association believes this “relationship’ hints of collusion.
MLBPA CALLING FOR INVESTIGATION
Prior to last season, Aaron Judge rejected the Yankees offer of a seven-year, $213.5 contract extension.
Judge is expected to make big money after hitting 62 home runs this year and being an offensive juggernaut.
However, only a few teams can afford him. One of those is billionaire Steve Cohen’s Mets. If the Mets told the Yankees they are out of contention, that means the price will significantly drop.
MLB is expected to request text, email and phone messages between Cohen and Steinbrenner.
The Mets had the highest payroll in baseball this season at $287 million. However, they have to decide if they will bring back other players like pitcher Jacob DeGrom and outfielder Brandon Nimmo.
Meanwhile, the Yankees are under immense pressure to bring back the fan-favorite Judge. That is, if they can afford him.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred confirmed the league is investigating the matter, however he is “confident” the teams did not violate the collective bargaining agreement. “I’m absolutely confident that the clubs behaved in a way that was consistent with the agreement. This was based on [an internet] report,” Manfred told reporters. Adding, “We will put ourselves in a position to demonstrate credibly to the MLBPA that this is not an issue.”