Skip to content

Collusion IV? The union is getting annoyed at ownership

Nov 14, 2012, 9:20 AM EST

Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Michael Weiner speaks at news conference to announce new collective bargaining agreement in New York

Once upon a time, baseball owners illegally conspired to keep free agent salaries down. Then they did it again. And again. And they were busted for it, hard.

Then, according to the union, they did it again, and again and again.  They were not busted for it in those instances — baseball owners are a lot more careful about those things these days and, admittedly, sometimes the players just don’t like it when the market isn’t insanely overheated and look for reasons why that is — but the union still watches them closely.

And, as Ken Rosenthal reports, they’re watching the owners again:

The players’ union, sources say, believes that some recent statements by club officials and other baseball employees violate the collective-bargaining agreement. Rules in the CBA state that team officials cannot communicate through the media the substance of economic terms discussed by players and clubs – the facts of an offer, or whether the club will decline to make an offer.

At issue are team officials are signaling through the media what players are asking for and what teams are willing to give them, thereby tipping off other teams about how high they need to go or, alternatively, how low they can go in making offers. Examples include Randy Levine’s comments about the kind of contract Rafael Soriano wants and unnamed executives’ comments about Josh Hamilton‘s demands and how long a contract the Rangers would be willing to offer him. Rosenthal has many other examples.

I suspect that a lot of that is intended to signal stuff to other teams and constrain players’ markets. But I also suspect that there is no real way to make a case that it’s some coordinated effort like it was back in the bad old days of the 1980s.

Latest Posts
  1. Giants, Brandon Crawford avoid arbitration with one-year deal

    Jan 27, 2015, 4:40 PM EST

    Desmond Jennings Brandon Crawford AP

    Crawford requested $3.95 million and the Giants countered at $2.4 million.

  2. Five minor leaguers suspended for drugs

    Jan 27, 2015, 4:13 PM EST

    say no to drugs

    They’re coming in bunches lately.

  3. GM says Rockies are “highly, highly unlikely” to trade Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez

    Jan 27, 2015, 3:55 PM EST

    troy tulowitzki rockies getty Getty Images

    Tulowitzki is owed $114 million for the next six seasons and Gonzalez is owed $53 million for the next three seasons.

  4. The Nats and Astros need a change in Florida law to get their new spring training facility

    Jan 27, 2015, 2:22 PM EST

    Woman Drinking Glass of Water

    Specifically, a reduction in size of an area of land protected in order to help keep drinking water clean

  5. Royals and Jarrod Dyson settle, avoid arbitration

    Jan 27, 2015, 2:01 PM EST

    jarrod dyson getty Getty Images

    Dyson requested $1.6 million and the Royals countered at $900,000.

  6. MLB, not the federal government, is keeping Yoan Moncada from signing a deal

    Jan 27, 2015, 12:30 PM EST

    cuba hat

    The league now requires Cuban players to get a much more difficult to obtain clearance to sign than even the federal government requires.

  7. Not so fast on the Bud Selig Hall of Fame talk

    Jan 27, 2015, 11:33 AM EST

    Bud Selig AP

    One Hall of Fame expert argues that Selig should have to cool his heels before waltzing into Cooperstown

  8. The 14th greatest GM of all time has been a GM for a long, long time

    Jan 27, 2015, 11:03 AM EST

    Brian Sabean phone

    So long that he’s one of the few GMs who rocked a flip phone after he already had the top job.

  9. Angels “optimistic” Garrett Richards will be ready for April

    Jan 27, 2015, 10:50 AM EST

    Garrett Richards AP

    As of six weeks ago Angels manager Mike Scioscia was telling reporters that the team didn’t expect Garrett Richards back from knee surgery until May.

  10. Why “Deflategate” would never happen in baseball

    Jan 27, 2015, 8:10 AM EST

    Kenny Rogers Pine Tar

    No, it’s not “because the balls don’t have air inside them in baseball.” Though that is a good point.

  11. Jake McGee plays catch for first time since elbow surgery

    Jan 26, 2015, 11:45 PM EST

    Jake McGee AP AP

    McGee is expected to begin the season on the disabled list, but he’s hoping to return by late April or early May.

  12. Rockies and Adam Ottavino avoid arbitration with one-year deal

    Jan 26, 2015, 11:05 PM EST

    Adam Ottavino AP AP

    Ottavino has quietly been very effective since joining the Rockies in 2012, posting a 3.60 ERA over 179 relief appearances while averaging 9.3 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9.

  13. Report: Astros among teams looking at free agent right-hander Kevin Correia

    Jan 26, 2015, 10:01 PM EST

    Kevin Correia AP

    After negotiations with Ryan Vogelsong broke down last week, the Astros are now considering alternatives.

  14. Mariners reunite with Franklin Gutierrez

    Jan 26, 2015, 9:07 PM EST

    Franklin Gutierrez Getty Images

    Gutierrez has played a grand total of 173 games dating back to 2011 and sat out last season due to a gastrointestinal issue.

  15. Alex Avila switching to hockey-style catcher mask due to concussions

    Jan 26, 2015, 8:16 PM EST

    Alex Avila AP AP

    Avila is making a change in hopes of avoiding future concussions.

  16. Blue Jays sign president and CEO Paul Beeston to extension through 2015

    Jan 26, 2015, 7:09 PM EST

    blue jays logo

    The announcement comes after the Blue Jays reportedly ended their pursuit of Orioles executive VP Dan Duquette.

  17. Padres sign Ramiro Pena

    Jan 26, 2015, 6:30 PM EST

    Ramiro Peno AP AP

    The 29-year-old hit just .245/.304/.347 with three home runs and nine RBI across 81 games with the Braves last season and was designated for assignment in November.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. R. Vogelsong (5343)
  2. J. Shields (5289)
  3. J. Papelbon (4637)
  4. I. Suzuki (3824)
  5. J. Gomes (3718)
  1. J. Hoffman (2996)
  2. D. Fowler (2921)
  3. J. Santana (2920)
  4. G. Soto (2849)
  5. J. Montero (2811)