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The MLBPA is serious about investigating leaks to reporters regarding Stephen Drew, Kendrys Morales

Apr 22, 2014, 8:53 AM EDT

Interesting tweet from Buster:

This, I would suspect, stems from the thing a couple of weeks ago when the union got all huffy about anonymous MLB executives talking to Olney about how much money free agents Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales might expect to be paid. The union claimed this violated the CBA — it could constitute collusion among teams to peg Drew and Morales’ price — and demanded that Major League Baseball investigate who the sources were for Olney’s report.

Clark may be technically correct that executives giving comments about free agents’ value is collusive and potentially violative of the CBA, but he’s also nuts if he thinks MLB is going to investigate who gave those comments. The league doesn’t see this as a big deal and, even if it did, when you start treading into investigating reporters’ sources, everyone in the media is going to turn on you. It’s a battle Clark isn’t going to win and probably shouldn’t be asking for.

This move, of course, is not a direct attack. It’s more like saber-rattling. The union is asking agents — over whom it has some regulatory power — to keep documents. It has no power to demand that clubs, let alone anyone in the media, obviously, do the same. It strikes me as a way to publicly say “we care about this, Major League Baseball, and we’re doing what we can to look into it. You do so too.” As posturing, it’s totally understandable. He may be able to get a couple of bullet points for some theoretical future grievance against the league regarding Drew and Morales.  As an effective means of getting anything major done regarding the leaks specifically or Drew and Morales’ plight in general, well, it’s not going to do all that much.

What it will do, however, is light a fire under the media. A media which will probably paint this as an attack on a free press and stuff, even if that’s not really what’s going on here. It’ll be understandable if and when the media gets angry about this, of course, in that even if it isn’t really an assault on it, it treads closely enough to make everyone uncomfortable. Every time a governing body, be it an actual political one, a sports league or what have you, tries to sniff out sources, it loses the P.R. war before it begins.

I’m not sure why Clark wants this fight. I’m not sure how he gets anything out of it of significance.

  1. professor30 - Apr 22, 2014 at 9:06 AM

    Let’s ask the people at home who they think is behind this fairy tale. My guess is that he’s got something in common with both players.

    • SocraticGadfly - Apr 22, 2014 at 7:06 PM

      Just once, just once, I’d love to hear Boras tell us, for public consumption, he overestimated the market.

  2. unclemosesgreen - Apr 22, 2014 at 9:13 AM

    He’s just trying to have a chilling effect on executive chatter. Randy Levine excepted, it may work. Nothing and no one can shut him up.

    • hep3 - Apr 22, 2014 at 12:12 PM

      Wasn’t Levine once an owners stooge/”negotiator” in one of the CBA negotiations where the owners got hammered? I am thinking around 1994.

  3. 4grammarpolice - Apr 22, 2014 at 9:14 AM

    Let the MLBPA worry more about human trafficking coming out of Cuba.

    • jwbiii - Apr 23, 2014 at 2:02 AM

      I’m not sure what you mean there. Should the MLBPA attempt to reach an agreement with the Cuban Series Nacional? Would the majority of the MLBPA members agree to that? If not, is it not against their charter to represent people and spend resources on people who are not part of their Collective Bargaining Unit?

      I agree with you in principle, that the situation is horrific, but I don’t see that the MLPA has anything like a legal standing over this matter. Sure, the players in the Cuban Series Nacional are potential major leaguers,

  4. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Apr 22, 2014 at 9:19 AM

    Well, after the official response from Manfred was “BFD” the Union was essentially forced to do SOMETHING. This is the second time in the last few months that the CBA was trampled upon by with interests against the players’ union. If they continue the lay down now, they may not have the strength to stand when it matters more.

  5. rbj1 - Apr 22, 2014 at 9:41 AM

    “” As posturing, it’s totally understandable. He may be able to get a couple of bullet points for some theoretical future grievance against the league regarding Drew and Morales.”

    More likely it’s going to be about ending the draft compensation clause in the next CBA.

    Lots of teams could use Drew right about now, but with lots of good players at the amateur level no one wants to give up a first round pick. which harms members of the MLBPA.

    • pappageorgio - Apr 22, 2014 at 10:41 AM

      The MLBPA really kind of helped create this little monster they’re dealing with.

      Everyone, including the players, thought the incoming rookie pay scale was getting out of control. So in the CBA they thought to put limits on how much young players could make, taking that money and giving it to vets.

      What they didn’t count on was increasing the value of solid rent controlled young players. It used to be that a word like “potential” was relative to how much the young player was making…..1st round picks weren’t as valuable because they had to be paid so much to wait and see if they developed into stars. Taking away the financial burdon of signing these guys took away the negative. So the players made their own beds here.

    • jeffbbf - Apr 22, 2014 at 11:56 AM

      It’s not a draft compensation clause.

    • jwbiii - Apr 22, 2014 at 6:44 PM

      ARTICLE XX—Reserve System
      B. Free Agency
      (4) Compensation

      So, yeah, it’s not a Compensation clause. It’s a whole darn Compensation subsection. Rambles on for quite a while.

  6. stex52 - Apr 22, 2014 at 9:43 AM

    The executives quoted were just speaking the obvious. Two solid role-players overvalued their marketability under the present CBA (first draft choice and all) and took a hit for it. We all know that.

    But a professional organization should be a bit smarter with the press. This will end up being not much of a deal, but it would have been no deal at all if a couple of guys had just been a little smarter with their comments.

  7. tysonpunchinguterus - Apr 22, 2014 at 9:58 AM

    Meanwhile, the agent for both players has already undermined any collusion case by publicly claiming that one of the players received a multi-year offer for $3 million per year more than the highest amount suggested. Now, Boras could go to a potential arbitration hearing and admit that he made that up. However, doing that could hurt his standing with other players (and maybe even Drew and Morales) since it would mean that he gave them bad advice and now has them in a place where they’d be lucky to made $4 million less this season than they were offered at the start of the offseason.

    • unclemosesgreen - Apr 22, 2014 at 10:05 AM

      You have unusually thoughtful comments for such an unusually thoughtless username. I think you would get a better overall reaction here if you had a less obnoxious username.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 22, 2014 at 10:17 AM

        He thinks he’s clever and ironic with it — and completely misses the poor taste it displays in using that as your online identifier.

      • unclemosesgreen - Apr 22, 2014 at 10:18 AM

        Yes and yes. But the comments themselves aren’t bad.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 22, 2014 at 10:21 AM

        Oh, I don’t think he’s dumb or doesn’t contribute positively to conversations, but I don’t think he’s a careful thinker and misses the subtleties sometimes. I’m sure he’ll have at me again for that.

      • tysonpunchinguterus - Apr 22, 2014 at 10:48 AM

        It’s a reference to Opie and Anthony making fun of Mike Tyson around the time he was making insanely violent (and usually nonsensical) threats during interviews in the late-90s/early-2000s. Obviously not everyone will know the show, but I think most people are old enough to remember Tyson threatening to eat children,saying he takes Zoloft “to keep from killing y’all,” and things like that. If someone thinks I’m pro-abuse and chooses to ignore me, that’s their choice, but I think they’d looking for a reason to be offended rather than taking a few seconds to think about the likelihood that someone joined a baseball forum and said, “I think I’ll let the world know that beating women is okay.”

      • unclemosesgreen - Apr 22, 2014 at 10:53 AM

        If you have to explain it that much, it’s probably not too good as a reference point for anyone. I’m not saying you’re pro-abuse, I’m saying you have an obnoxious username.

        It doesn’t matter that it made you laugh once upon a time. Right now, in the present, it makes a crap username and prevents a lot of people from taking the content of your comments seriously.

        I thought to mention this to you since it takes a conscious effort of will to read your comments without letting that crap name influence the reading.

      • tysonpunchinguterus - Apr 22, 2014 at 11:02 AM

        You’re entitled to your opinion. Comedy is subjective. I’ll leave it at that.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 22, 2014 at 11:17 AM

        See what I mean?

      • unclemosesgreen - Apr 22, 2014 at 11:18 AM


      • tuberippin - Apr 22, 2014 at 6:49 PM

        No one cares about the origin of the man’s username. Quit nitpicking over BS nonsense. We already have Calcaterra to do that.

      • unclemosesgreen - Apr 22, 2014 at 6:53 PM

        Given that your name is “tuberippin” I’ll feel free to take your comment with a large helping of salt. It’s still less offensive, but not a good look for you.

      • tuberippin - Apr 22, 2014 at 7:06 PM

        I take it your mother never taught you to not judge a book by its cover, if you’re spending quality time during your day weighing the merits of a person’s comment based on his or her username. Making assumptions based off that username (“He thinks he’s clever and ironic with it,” for example, though I know those are historio’s words and not yours) just makes it that much worse. You only make yourself look worse in the process by debasing other people’s viewpoints because you don’t like their name. If you’re letting usernames affect how you read someone’s comments, you’re doing it wrong.

        I apologize for being unaware about the HBT Unwritten Rule regarding having an erudite handle in order to be taken seriously when commenting. Sometimes I forget that a few choice people on this forum act as HBT’s Unwritten Rule Police.

      • unclemosesgreen - Apr 22, 2014 at 7:08 PM

        Another keyboard tough guy – and you even brought up my mother. That, more so than your tired, juvenile username defines your idiocy & cowardice.

    • historiophiliac - Apr 22, 2014 at 10:13 AM

      I am not a lawyer, but I play one on the internets. And I object! Assuming facts not in evidence.

  8. historiophiliac - Apr 22, 2014 at 10:29 AM

    I’m not sure what your objection is here, Craig. I don’t even see it as saber-rattling even. To me, it just seems like a precautionary move in case these guys need/want to file a grievance later. It’s just preserving the evidence, in case they need to take it to an arbiter. I’m not really sure why you see it as a PR move, as opposed to practical and preventative.

  9. onbucky96 - Apr 22, 2014 at 11:12 AM

    Fine, okay, I’m the leak. I was also the 2nd gunman on the grassy knoll.

  10. scottp9 - Apr 22, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    Executives commenting in the media on a free agent’s value is not potentially or theoretically a violation of the sport’s CBA, it’s actually a direct violation of a specific agreement. For the MLBPA to ignore the violation would be a dereliction of its responsibilities to its members. The MLBPA is not in the position of merely requesting that MLB investigate its own; rather, the union has the power to require the clubs, through the Commissioner, to turn over documents relevant to its inquiry into the matter. The document referenced in Olney’s tweet sounds like the indication of an escalating dispute.

  11. braddavery - Apr 22, 2014 at 11:49 AM

    Slow day at the office. They need to validate their salaries in SOME way.

  12. garylanglais - Apr 22, 2014 at 1:03 PM

    I’m pretty sure the MLBPA didn’t even demand MLB to investigate how OTL learned about and subsequently reported Braun’s positive test. That report did violate the JDA’s confidentiality provision.

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