AP

Manfred sure Mets-Yanks collusion query will find no issue

Nov 16, 2022, 10:07 PM | Updated: Nov 17, 2022, 8:00 pm

New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) walks off the field after grounding out to the Hous...

New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) walks off the field after grounding out to the Houston Astros to end Game 4 of an American League Championship baseball series, Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

NEW YORK (AP) — Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred confirmed Thursday that Major League Baseball is looking into potentially improper communication between the New York Mets and Yankees regarding star free agent Aaron Judge and said he is confident the inquiry will find no issues.

“I’m absolutely confident that the clubs behaved in a way that was consistent with the agreement,” Manfred said Thursday, referring to baseball’s collective bargaining agreement between players and owners.

“This was based on a newspaper report. We will put ourselves in position to demonstrate credibly to the MLBPA that this is not an issue. I’m sure that’s going to be an outcome, but obviously we understand the emotion that surrounds that word (collusion) and we’ll proceed accordingly.”

The Athletic first reported MLB was investigating the teams after a story on SNY.com, the website for the Mets’ television network, said a “mutually respectful relationship” between Mets owner Steve Cohen and Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner would prevent a “high-profile bidding war” for Judge. The 30-year-old slugger could command more than $300 million in free agency.

“I just really saw the reports really today, kind of reading a couple articles on it. I’m going to let the PA and MLB kind of figure that one out,” Judge said on a conference call Thursday night after winning the AL MVP award.

“When you get to be a free agent, you kind of look forward to the opportunity to talk to every single team and kind of have an opportunity to see if a team wants you, that you can go there.”

Judge turned down a $213.5 million, seven-year offer from the Yankees before opening day, then hit an AL record 62 home runs.

According to the report, the union requested MLB look into communications specifically between Cohen, who purchased the Mets from the Wilpon family for $2.4 billion in 2020, and Steinbrenner, who took over as the Yankees’ managing general partner following the 2008 season.

Manfred, speaking at the end of this week’s owners’ meetings, said he will not directly be involved in the investigation.

“It’s kind of a developing story for me, but looking forward to seeing what happens with that,” Judge said.

There is also concern from players about comments made recently by Houston owner Jim Crane. Speaking to MLB.com, Crane said AL Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander “is seeking a deal similar” to the $130 million, three-year contract Max Scherzer signed with the Mets shortly before a three-month lockout began last year.

After the lockout, Manfred said one of his goals was to improve relations with players following contentious labor battles around restarting play during the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season and the expiration of the CBA after the 2021 season.

“I think those conversations were instructive, positive, helpful in terms of building a better relationship, which always begins with better communication,” Manfred said of his meetings with players. “I was encouraged by players to continue the practice, and I do intend to continue that practice.”

The last time collusion came up as an issue between players and owners was five years ago, when the union considered filing a grievance. Ultimately, the union to declined to file a grievance, though the slow pace of free agency in subsequent seasons led agents to believe collusion may be occurring.

In 2006, MLB paid $12 million in claims pertaining to the 2002-03 offseason. Owners also agreed to pay $280 million to players for violations following the 1985, ’86 and ’87 seasons.

Manfred was also asked Thursday about the league’s relationship with FTX, a cryptocurrency exchange being investigated by state and federal authorities for allegedly investing depositors funds in ventures without their approval.

Manfred admitted the recent news of a class-action lawsuit against FTX, along with celebrities, athletes and teams who promoted it, was “jarring.” MLB was not named as a defendant.

Manfred said FTX would not return as a sponsor for the league in 2023.

“We had been really careful in moving forward in this space,” Manfred said. “We’ve been really religious about staying away from coins themselves as opposed to more company-based sponsorships. We think that was prudent particularly given the way things unfolded. We will, I think, proceed with caution in the future and of course how much we have to worry about it’s going to depend on when this exactly lands, as well.”

MLB signed a long-term deal with FTX in 2021. The agreement with the third-largest cryptocurrency exchange included all umpires wearing the FTX logo on their uniform sleeves during games along with advertising on nationally televised games, MLB.com, MLB Network and MLB.TV and social media platforms

Among those named in the lawsuit were Angels’ two-way star Shohei Ohtani along with Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry.

“I think we have been careful about the scope of involvement with crypto companies,” Manfred said. “We have a full understanding of the uncertainties and legal risk in that landscape and we’re going to continue to be careful in that area. Obviously individual players, they take advice from people other than us on those topics.”

___

AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

Manfred sure Mets-Yanks collusion query will find no issue