Major League Baseball will reportedly investigate New York Yankees president Randy Levine for comments he made regarding Mike Trout.
Levine was discussing the massive contract Robinson Cano signed with the Seattle Mariners, worth $240 million over 10 years. The Yankees president had innocuous comments regarding the second baseman's first press conference in Seattle, per ESPNNewYork.com's Wallace Matthews.
It wasn't until Levine evoked the name of another All-Star that he may have run afoul of MLB's rules. Referencing Cano's contract, he said, "Now, if it was Mike Trout, I'd offer him a 10-year contract. But for people over 30, I don't believe it makes sense."
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reported that the league will look into whether those comments fall under the category of tampering.
You can see where both parties might feel aggrieved.
Levine would likely say it was a harmless statement. Of course any team in the league would jump at the chance to sign Mike Trout to a huge contract. It's like saying you'd like to have LeBron James playing the 3 for your basketball team.
MLB Network's Brian Kenny came up with a different analogy.
The alleged Yankee tampering thing is silly. There was no such thing. Trout is a brand name for "great young player".— Brian Kenny (@MrBrianKenny) December 13, 2013
Levine said that he spoke with the league and with Angels president John Carpino, and it's all water under the bridge now, per Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News.
Levine said he called Angels president John Carpino and MLB, apologizing for the Trout comment. "My understanding is the matter is over."— Mark Feinsand (@FeinsandNYDN) December 13, 2013
Trout won't even be eligible for arbitration until 2015, and he could become a first-time free agent after the 2017 season. It's not like he's going anywhere anytime soon.
However, from the Los Angeles Angels' perspective, you don't want some higher-up in the Yankees organization making waves about trying to nab your best player. It's all fun and games now, but who knows if New York is playing the long game and wants to plant the seed in Trout's mind now.
Is there anything wrong with Levine's comments about Mike Trout?
Whether the Yankees are charged with tampering is almost secondary to Trout's future. Sure he's still tied to the Angels for the next few years, but you'd think that the team would want to give him a lucrative new contract to keep him happy.
As the best young player in the game, you can only wonder how much he'd get if on the open market in 2017. If Cano can get $24 million per season, you'd think Trout could easily get into the $30-40 million range.
Only time will tell if that deal comes from the Angels, Yankees or somebody else looking to make a splash in the free-agent market.
For the time being, though, the rest of league would be wise to keep their mouths shut regarding their interest in the star outfielder.