MLB Players Union Files Grievance vs. Marlins, Rays, A's, Pirates over Spending

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2018

FIEL - In this Feb. 19, 2017, file photo, Tony Clark, executive director of the Major League Players Association, answers questions at a news conference in Phoenix. A proposal collapsed that would have put a runner on second base to start the 10th inning of spring training games, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Friday because no statements were authorized. Management thinks the union backed off because players were upset Commissioner Rob Manfred described new pace-of-game rules that apply to the regular season as an agreement, the person said. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)
Morry Gash/Associated Press

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.

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