The Major League Baseball Players Association filed a grievance against the Miami Marlins, Oakland Athletics, Pittsburgh Pirates and Tampa Bay Rays for allegedly failing to comply with revenue-sharing rules.
On Tuesday, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported the players' union seeks "some form of compensation for players that were not signed" following a slow free-agent signing period, but the league doesn't believe any wrongdoing has occurred.
"We have received the grievance and believe it has no merit," MLB said in a statement to Topkin.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports first reported the potential of a grievance last month with the union initially focused on the Marlins and Pirates, who each traded away multiple high-profile assets during the offseason, as possible violators of the guidelines.
The collective bargaining agreement states that every team must use money received from revenue sharing as part of "an effort to improve its performance on the field," per Passan. The MLBPA wants to ensure ownership groups aren't "pocketing" the money or using it to "buy down debt."
While many veteran players remain free agents with spring training underway, the teams listed in the grievance have made little attempt to significantly improve their rosters.
The Marlins traded Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon in blockbuster deals that brought back mostly prospects.
Pittsburgh dealt Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole. Tampa Bay moved Evan Longoria, Steven Souza Jr. and Corey Dickerson while letting Alex Cobb enter free agency. And the notoriously penny-pinching A's did little to improve a 75-win team from last year.
Per Spotrac, all four of the teams listed in the grievance rank in the bottom seven of projected MLB payroll for the 2018 season.