REPORT: MLB Launches Investigation Into Mets, Yankees Owners Over Potential Aaron Judge Signing

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Andrew Powell Contributor
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Well, this looks like it might be fun.

Aaron Judge is certainly the biggest free agent in this year’s offseason pool, with multiple teams pursuing the services of the power hitter, except for one usual suspect that many thought would have their money in play: the New York Mets — this has triggered an investigation from Major League Baseball into the matter.

MLB opened up an investigation after Mets sources made comments in an SNY article that talked about how the team’s owner Steve Cohen and New York Yankees co-owner Hal Steinbrenner have a “mutually respectful relationship” and that has caused the Mets to show no interest in Judge. As a result, MLB is looking into the situation to see if there was a violation of the collective bargaining agreement, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

The article, published Nov. 3 to the website of the same television network that carries New York Mets games, reportedly caught the MLB Players Association’s attention. In response, they contacted Major League Baseball to request an investigation into the potential violations done by both Cohen and Steinbrenner.

Here are the snippets from the SNY article that has caused the investigation:

“On [April 8, the day Judge rejected the Yankees’ final extension offer], Mets sources said that they did not plan to fight the Yankees this offseason for Judge. With free agency set to begin next week, that has not changed.

“Talking to Mets people about this all through the year, the team in Queens sees Judge as a Yankee, uniquely tailored to be an icon in their uniform, stadium and branding efforts. Owners Steve Cohen and Hal Steinbrenner enjoy a mutually respectful relationship, and do not expect to upend that with a high-profile bidding war.

“The only way people involved can see the Mets changing course and pursuing Judge would be if the Yankees somehow declared themselves totally out of the bidding.”

The MLB collective bargaining agreement states that an owner isn’t allowed to have an agreement with another on not pursuing one of their players, which would be considered illegal collusion by the league. Ultimately, it will be up to MLB to decide whether or not they think this scenario is in that category. (RELATED: MLB Owner Says Shohei Ohtani Off The Table For Trade. Is It A Bonehead Move?)

MLB reportedly plans to request from both Cohen and Steinbrenner their phone, text and email records for the time period that is being questioned. MLBPA also has the ability to file a grievance if they choose to do so.

With Aaron Judge, he’ll be good to go regardless of what happens in this whole ordeal. Judge is fresh off a historic 62-homerun season and is expected to win the American League’s Most Valuable Player award Nov. 17, so as a result, you know he’s about to get severely paid with a lot of baseball teams in the process willing to give him that money.