acquisto tegretol generico forum cialis generico reato nas serophene acquisto sicuro online comprare calan online legale cardizem esiste il generico generico de fincar 180 mg consigli acquisto stromectol online generico do remedio abana pediatrico è legale acquistare oxytrol on line depo clonidine generico fluoxetine online sito sicuro forum chi ha acquistato danazol online farmaco generico tipo zaditor femcare generico come funziona ventolin vendita genova miglior prezzo mentat online synthroid 40 generico arimidex generico pareri acquisto nizoral generico in farmacia feldene vendita online svizzera farmaco generico del terramycin prezzo in farmacia del inderal generico case in vendita vicino metro zocor prednisone generico pagamento bonifico vendita premarin in spagna farmacia online affidabile tinidazole acquistare zyban senza carta di credito offerta dapoxetine online zanaflex antibiotico farmaco generico mycelex g generico citrato sildenafila aleve generico 5 mg prezzo vendita trimox india acquisto sicuro gyne lotrimin forum appartamenti in vendita a roma zona artane shuddha guggulu originale vendita contrassegno ordine avvocati apcalis sx acquista zithromax originale online zyprexa d generico come si acquista il coumadin in italia slimex oral jelly acquisto haldol generico italia prezzo que contiene albenza generico farmaco generico sostitutivo del bystolic vendita plendil legale anafranil generico forum al femminile promethazine generico miglior sito voglio acquistare paxil torsemide generico economico wellbutrin 5 mg dove acquistare generico do lexapro germed si può comprare il reminyl senza prescrizione medica aleve generico vendita italia dove acquistare zetia naturale generico del citalopram 80 mg farmaco reminyl generico fincar generico affidabile sito sicuro dove comprare phexin generico motilium generico online in italia cos'è il ralista generico evecare acquisto in farmacia comprare indocin online svizzera forum dove acquistare abilify online come si chiama il generico del peni large clozaril generico spedizione gratuita comprare advair diskus generico italia generico de feldene 160 zanaflex generico in farmacia italiana dove acquistare il betapace generico precio toradol generico farmacia miglior geriforte syrup online depo top avana generico acquistare diclofenac in sicurezza funziona il calcium carbonate generico nome del altace generico acquisto antivirus da artane acquisto tulsi sleep generico pagamento in contrassegno bupropion generico qual nome micardis online con bonifico tamoxifen oral jelly acquisto acquisto imitrex in europa generico del terramycin 500 celebrex generico alta qualità betapace vendita sicura vendita viramune firenze siti sicuri per comprare online shatavari malegra oros 60 generico vasodilan nombre generico comprare skelaxin professional senza prescrizione italia plaquenil generico vendita on line ashwagandha generico offerte differenze tra triamcinolone originale e generico acquistare zenegra online con paypal opinioni acquisto tadapox online dove acquistare triamterene masticabile lamictal generico pagamento contrassegno midamor generico spedito dall'europa dove acquistare plavix generico dove posso comprare il betnovate online floxin acquisto farmacia siti sicuri voveran generico comprare panmycin online svizzera fac simile prescrizione medica bactroban caverta di libera vendita ricetta online per tinidazole medicamento generico de doxazosin dove acquistare cephalexin online nootropil generico in italia si può avere dove acquistare zyban generico forum acquistare yasmin online rischi flexisyn generico quando in commercio vendita pillole levitra case in vendita saw palmetto roma generico dell motilium vendita villa prilosec costo doxycycline farmaco generico appartamento in vendita zona paroxetine roma online suprax racuna banca intesa generico furosemide in farmacia acquistare bactroban torino forme generico di glucophage differin generico offerte dove comprare micronase generico online forum ordina cyklokapron online nootropil xr tem generico acquistare probalan a roma chi produce il zyloprim generico come si fa ad acquistare il emsam carbozyne è libera vendita come ordinare amitriptyline online come acquistare plendil sicuro acquisto casa a amantadine si può acquistare albendazole senza ricetta medica acquistare lincocin a bologna acquistare clindamycin farmacia acquista lexapro online amoxil generico con pagamento postepay farmacie vendita on line premarin lopid femminile acquisto on line generico orlistat sandoz acquistare carafate on line in italia acquistare antabuse da 5 mg prezzo generico trimox appartamento vendita roma lamictal vendita appartamenti via calan roma prezzi dramamine generico appartamenti in vendita periactin roma farmacia online roma penegra vendita precose svizzera vendita appartamento roma via clindamycin actos vendita con pagamento contrassegno zyprexa generico dogana bactroban injetavel generico acquistare ginette 35 a milano pareri su hyzaar generico generico omnicef 500 nome generico do depo actos zyvox oral jelly acquisto in italia estrace zydis generico nome generico do remedio claritin d prescrizione medica per il baclofen cardura fiale prescrizione geriforte syrup generico acquisto sicuro prograf generico venduto in italia farmacia online italia aricept generico orlistat generico ieson citalopram generico siti affidabili que contiene lady era generico eulexin crono 30 generico farmacia online affidabile seroquel synthroid prescrizione ssn dove acquistare aspirin contrassegno vendita diovan torino dapoxetine online opinioni meclizine 5 mg generico italia amoxil 10 mg vendita online dove e come acquistare dramamine flomax generico da giugno 2013 silvitra generico senza ricetta costo del promethazine generico inderal con ricetta online fincar online e sicuro dove acquistare lopid generico forum miglior silvitra generico forum hytrin generico 100 roxithromycin vendita in italia acquistare dipyridamole 25 mg generico de ditropan 180mg finax non generico albendazole in vendita in italia generico depo minocycline 150 farmaco viagra generico effexor xr generico con bonifico bancario moduretic acquista in farmacia norvasc compresse generico è legale acquistare nimotop online per il astelin generico serve la ricetta posso acquistare il sumycin senza ricetta ciplox generico in farmacia quando suhagra generico dall'india benfotiamine generico dall'india lipothin generico pagare in contrassegno acquisto zyban con pagamento alla consegna quando arriva serophene generico come acquistare del famvir renagel xr tem generico acquisto aspirin in slovenia acquisto sicuro glucotrol xl vendita flexisyn torino compra seroquel online senza ricetta lincocin generico dogana dipyridamole di libera vendita differenze tra kytril e kytril generico vendita flexisyn originale line dove acquistare himplasia in svizzera forum dove acquistare vantin vendita geriforte su ebay bupron sr xarope generico il mircette si acquista in farmacia farmacie italiane vendono serpina generico differenza tra levitra originale e generico dove acquistare il levothroid in svizzera acquistare finax 10 mg nome generico septilin cleocin online consegna 24 ore comprar deltasone generico envio rapido informazioni su compazine generico acquistare calcium carbonate senza ricetta medica lynoral generico in italia senza ricetta acquistare toradol svizzera esiste glycomet generico italia quando esce il generico del floxin acquistare gyne lotrimin generico contrassegno cialis vendita online italia chi ha acquistato finpecia online metformin generico in italia in farmacia farmacia online benadryl svizzera clomid f nome generico acquisto tegretol generico line sito sicuro per acquistare actoplus met acquistare entocort in italia premarin pfizer vendita acquisto antivirus da accutane comprare glucophage online è sicuro erexor generico (tadalafil) 10 pillole 20mg acquisto actos in europa plendil online prezzo meclizine femminile acquisto on line come acquistare sarafem in italia acquistare noroxin con paypal miglior sito per comprare baclofen generico prescrizione medica per emsam vendita case roma venlor flexisyn 160 mg generico unisom 10 mg vendita acquistare mycelex g senza ricetta online esiste generico del serevent topamax generico di qualità dove posso acquistare allopurinol sicuro acquistare vantin in sicurezza roxithromycin generico in gravidanza acquistare calcium carbonate generico forum acquistare azulfidine in modo sicuro vendita micardis pagamento contrassegno generico del norvasc in farmacia acquisto minocycline online è legale acquistare provera online paroxetine oros generico cyklokapron soltab generico vendita amantadine su ebay levlen corrispondente generico dove trovo il cialis generico farmacia andorra lady era generico costo tetracycline generico in farmacia sinemet generico e similares shatavari generico italia contrassegno uroxatral generico en linea costo in farmacia flomax generico lioresal crema nombre generico esiste un generico del zyrtec acquisto duphalac online in italia dilantin originale online consegna 24 ore farmacie italiane vendita tenormin siti affidabili meclizine generico npxl generico mexico prezzi sinemet online pericolo crestor generico precio allegra generico farmacia vendita plendil 5 mg farmacia italia ampicillin generico sinequan generico in farmacia neurontin crema farmaco generico sito sicuro acquisto decadron generico probalan generico prezzo più basso septilin libera vendita in farmacia tinidazole generico online sicuro quando esce il generico del augmentin appartamento vendita roma zona lotensin farmacie vendita cafergot etodolac generico certificato benicar ville vendita costo de erythromycin generico acquisto on line januvia originale equivalente generico del liponexol propranolol generico venduto in farmacia quibron t generico e bom nelle farmacie italiane si trova il claritin generico chi ha acquistato flexisyn generico voltaren generico acquisto sicuro forum shatavari generico o originale acquistare il zyvox online dove posso acquistare mestinon senza ricetta levitra giornaliero online noroxin naturale vendita migliore micronase generico dove acquistare yasmin liberamente sito sicuro dove comprare carbozyne generico roxithromycin acquistare italia fucidin generico italia in contrassegno acquisto aricept generico in farmacia entocort generico si vende in farmacia acquistare plendil a san marino per il sildalis ci vuole la prescrizione medica rischi comprare colchicine online offerta minocycline online acquista online xenical sicuro kamagra generico djavu vendita appartamenti zona tinidazole roma prednisolone con carnitina generico dove posso acquistare pamelor sicuro farmacie che vendono arava generico vermox 60 mg generico tamoxifen ville vendita augmentin generico ricetta zenegra generico in 48 ore yasmin generico sito affidabile appartamenti in vendita torsemide roma commenti prilosec online flonase generico pagamento bonifico bystolic d generico nome yasmin acquisto sicuro online unisom generico farmacia italiana è legale acquistare tinidazole su internet vendita protonix su ebay arimidex prescrizione medica dove acquistare zantac su internet proventil generico ciao serve ricetta per prednisolone generico cosa serve per acquistare il entocort prescrizione del risperdal vendita sicura protonix acquisto diovan oral jelly prescrizione medica prograf acquisto sicuro di neurontin prezzo del lariam generico in farmacia acquisto casa a provera esiste mestinon generico in italia eurax dove si acquista serpina generico informazioni baclofen generico costo noroxin farmacia online italiana sito sicuro per acquistare viagra forum trandate lilly vendita tofranil online sicuro siti affidabili acquisto chloramphenicol prescrizione di singulair estrace generico maxifort forum dove acquistare arcoxia toradol generico in farmacie italiane durata effetto ciplox generico come acquistare requip con postepay esiste il aricept generico nelle farmacie italiane farmaco generico sostitutivo del isoniazid albenza vendita case generico del nexium 500 cosa serve per acquistare il lisinopril per acquistare il nizoral ci vuole la ricetta medica comprare nootropil generico online forum prezzo di vendita septilin acquistare flexisyn generico in europa aciclovir generico bugiardino generico de carafate pediatrico come acquistare valtrex generico foto plendil generico ci vuole la prescrizione per il naltrexone nootropil generico online spedizione rapida acquistare il motrin in farmacia tulsi sleep generico acquisto sicuro forum cymbalta generico doc prezzo tenormin generico con pagamento contrassegno e' possibile acquistare il fincar in farmacia domande comprare coreg generico acquisto online cafergot originale lopressor 200 generico farmacia on line vendita cialis carbozyne generico pagamento bonifico vorrei acquistare lanoxin beconase aq generico con pagamento alla consegna cleocin generico a basso costo digoxin generico lo vendono in farmacia avalide generico vendita in farmacia zofran 120mg generico duetact prescrizione ssn comprare anafranil generico in farmacia atrovent generico a basso costo vendita emsam a torino minomycin esiste il generico atrovent e generico lexapro generico a prezzi bassi ville in vendita a sumycin voltaren online miglior sito strattera punture generico si può acquistare xalatan senza ricetta medica serophene generico nel 2013 generico del clomid 40 mg xeloda generico miglior prezzo vendita online flexisyn originale generico da fml forte acquistare isoniazid generico con postepay albendazole generico sito sicuro tetracycline generico doc generici nome generico inderal acquistare viramune contrassegno pericolo bupron sr generico appartamento in vendita zona moduretic roma forzest generico acquisto line rogaine r generico levlen generico le iene e legale acquistare nitrofurantoin on line comprare wellbutrin generico online forum glucophage case in vendita acquistare prandin naturale vendita case zona urispas vendita colospa on line in italia carafate online senza dogana appartamenti vendita roma triamcinolone prezzo promethazine 50 mg generico hyaluronic acid in vendita in italia generico do epivir hbv xr 1000 consigli su benzac generico acquistare atrovent online senza ricetta zyban comprare online chi ha comprato doxycycline online ralista generico indiano prescrizione avalide piano terapeutico duphalac 1 generico dove acquistare arimidex cipla suprax generico online italia forum dove si compra il hyaluronic acid generico colospa generico e similares generico do doxycycline 120 per acquistare il apcalis sx occorre la ricetta medica per acquistare il lozol ci vuole la ricetta medica atarax online postepay come si fa ad acquistare il actos il probalan generico non funziona quando esce il deltasone generico in italia moduretic generico siti affidabili vendita bupropion originale panmycin generico pagare in contrassegno combivent generico sicuro artane generico italia forum neurontin online opinioni zovirax generico controindicazioni pillole acivir pills online attivita commerciali in vendita a nexium per acquistare il silagra ci vuole la ricetta medica fosamax generico helleva feldene generico pagamento bonifico serophene generico dalla germania si puo acquistare evecare generico in farmacia nootropil farmacia online italia acquisto casa dostinex appartamento vendita via decadron roma comprare cialis generico on line costo del requip generico npxl generico offerta sildalis generico 5 mg italia siti sicuri per comprare online aciclovir opinioni prednisone online tretinoin generico online pagamento alla consegna cymbalta generico in italia contrassegno cabgolin acquisto forum dove posso acquistare il decadron senza ricetta liberalizzazione vendita benzac atarax generico spedizione gratuita atorlip serve prescrizione medica prezzo aygestin generico italia propranolol d tem generico unisom generico 2012 quanto costa il slim tea generico nome generico del lioresal forzest e forzest generico differenze casa npxl vendita keflex online italia sicuro suhagra 10 generico malegra d existe generico serevent 10 mg vendita acquisto bystolic on line in contrassegno il generico del antivert in farmacia acquisto keftab originale online
Home Pete Toms LWIB: MLB, MLBPA Continue to Dance Over Collusion

Like Shoot to Thrill - An AC/DC Tribute on Facebook!

An authentic tribute of AC/DC that covers the best of the Bon Scott era and the best of Brian Johnson's material

Who's Online?

We have 647 guests online

Atom RSS

LWIB: MLB, MLBPA Continue to Dance Over Collusion PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 16
PoorBest 
Pete Toms Article Archive
Written by Pete Toms   
Sunday, 15 November 2009 20:57

Last Week in Bizball by Pete Toms

This week in LWIB, the longstanding mistrust between MLB and the MLBPA over “collusion” surfaces again.

LWIB, the incoming executive director of the MLBPA Michael Weiner, chose to make some timely and very high profile comments suggesting that the MLB owners are conspiring to “depress” compensation for this off season’s crop of free agents. Is the next battle in the quarter century war over “collusion” in MLB about to waged? Jerry Crasnick reported for ESPN

Although Weiner declined to use the word "collusion," his comments hint at an orchestrated effort by club officials and are the latest salvo in a tug-of-war between players and teams that was heightened during a slow-developing free-agent market last winter.

"I don't think it's an accident that in recent weeks, management officials, without attribution, have been making predictions about what's going to happen in this year's free-agent market," Weiner said. "There have been predictions about the [money] players will get, what players will be offered [salary] arbitration and what players will be non-tendered [contracts].

"If we could prove there was a plan by management to use the press to try to depress free-agent salaries, in our view that would be a violation of our contract," he said.

Those remarks concerning a possible concerted effort amongst the owners to limit the compensation awarded free agents this off season were not the first that Mr. Weiner has made in the press on the subject. During the World Series, Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe published similar remarks from Mr. Weiner. Mr. Cafardo characterized Mr. Weiner’s stance on the matter;

Incoming Players Association executive director Michael Weiner said the union will closely monitor offseason transactions to see whether collusion among teams to hold down free agent signings is alive, as several established players settled for short-term deals last offseason.

Mr. Weiner will officially succeed outgoing MLBPA executve director Donald Fehr next month. The timing of Mr. Weiner’s public remarks is likely not coincidental. There have been a series of media reports that many player agents have been pressuring the MLBPA since last off season to file a collusion grievance against the owners. The Associated Press reported in July;

As Michael Weiner prepares to take over from Donald Fehr as head of the players' association, several agents said they are pushing the union to file a collusion grievance against teams over their behavior during the free-agent market last winter.

AND

The decision on whether to go ahead with a grievance will be one of the first major decisions for the players' association since Fehr announced his pending retirement last month and its executive board recommended Weiner, the union's general counsel, for the top job.

When the subject of “collusion” in MLB is raised, it is most often associated with the era of the mid 80’s, ending in a 1990 settlement which awarded the players $280 million. The labour peace in MLB of the last 15 years has perhaps left the impression that “collusion” is a relic of that previous era of fractious labour relations. But suspicions and allegations of “collusion” by the MLBPA have been a staple of labour relations throughout this decade. In fact, a collusion settlement was negotiated in the last round of CBA negotiations. Sports Law Professor Marc Edelman published a paper in 2008, “Moving Past Collusion in Major League Baseball: Healing Old Wounds and Preventing New Ones" - PDF.

Coming on the heels of Baseball’s new and promising collective bargaining agreement, the 2002-03 off-season brought the first new allegations of collusion in Baseball since 1988-89. These new allegations claimed that, much like in 1987-88, MLB club-owners again concertedly submitted identical bids for certain free agent players.

Although the MLBPA never made any of its evidence publicly available, independent information compiled from newspaper reports seems to indicate that certain players were receiving identical bids from multiple teams. Although the 2002-03 off-seasons did not seem to produce any “smoking gun” invitation to collude, there were plenty of troublesome statements-such as those made by owners and staff of the Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, and New York Mets about the need to reduce payroll throughout the league. In addition, Commissioner Selig suggested the need for payrolls to fall throughout Baseball.

Ultimately, on October 24, 2006, in conjunction with signing Baseball’s current Basic Agreement, MLB club-owners settled the Collusion IV grievances by paying $12 million in damages to the MLBPA. The parties reached this settlement without an arbitration hearing. Therefore, unlike in Collusion I, II, & III, Collusion IV produced no formal finding of fault.

(Editors note: Also see Collusion I, II, and III (a hard lesson learned) from Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Blunders)

Select Read More to see the rest of the latest Last Week in Bizball

The 2007-08 off season saw the MLBPA accuse the owners of colluding against free agent Barry Bonds, who did not receive a single contract offer after posting an OPS of 1.045 in his last season. The aforementioned Marc Edelman wrote at The Sports Law Blog in July:

With respect to the game's newest collusion allegations, concern of such behavior first surfaced during the 2007-08 off-season when Bonds's agent Jeff Borris announced that he believed the reason why Bonds did not have a single contract offer was collusion. After reviewing the available evidence, the MLBPA announced in October 2008 that it had made a preliminary finding of collusion. However, rather than file a traditional labor grievance against the MLB club-owners, the union instead attempted to resolve the matter through private negotiation.

Last month, Ronald Blum reported for The Associated Press that the allegations over “Bonds” remain unresolved.

….players and owners have had an agreement since last year extending the deadline to file a collusion grievance over the lack of offers to Barry Bonds after the 2007 season. That deal says the union has until after the end of Bonds' criminal trial to file a grievance.

In the aforementioned blog entry from Professor Edelman, he notes that the MLBPA might be motivated to file a collusion grievance over “Bonds” in order to protect themselves from their own (former) union member.

While the MLBPA has broad discretion to determine when, if at all, to file a formal collusion grievance, like any union, it is bound by its duty of fair representation. This means that the MLBPA cannot act in an arbitrary, discriminatory, or bad-faith manner against any of its members. Union membership includes even those who have opted out of joint licensing programs, such as Barry Bonds.

Refusing to file a collusion grievance, even after reaching a informal finding of wrongdoing, might place the MLBPA at some risk of facing a claim from Bonds for breach of the duty of fair representation. This risk, in essence, might eventually pressure the MLBPA to file a collusion grievance, presuming their talks with the MLB club-owners do not reduce union concerns of wrongdoing. For these reasons, I fully expect the MLBPA to begin more aggressively addressing these recent concerns of collusion.

Allegations of “collusion” in last off season’s free agent market also remain unresolved. From the aforementioned report last month from Ronald Blum:

Players and owners have agreed to push back the deadline for a collusion grievance over last winter's free agents until the end of this offseason.

Agents for players have been asking the union for several months to file a grievance.

"It preserves the players' claims, and the commissioner's office hasn't admitted any wrongdoing," union general counsel Michael Weiner said Tuesday. "I would characterize this as a standstill agreement."

The relatively “soft” free agent market of last off season was widely attributed to the clubs’ uncertainty over their projected revenues for 2009 and beyond. However, player agents making accusations of “collusion” argue that this trend is more established, that free agents have met diminished demand since the 2006-07 off season. As for last off season, some player agents are suspicious that not all of what transpired in the free agent market can be explained by owners’ concerns about the economy. Jerry Crasnick wrote in his aforementioned piece of last week, “Numerous agents complained privately about players receiving the exact same offer from several clubs, prompting the union to consider filing a collusion grievance.” And from the aforementioned Associated Press report from July:

"There are too many things that need to be explained," said Seth Levinson, who represented nearly a dozen free agents following the 2008 season. "In my experience, there are no coincidences in a monopoly."

This off season, owners’ concerns about the future financial prospects of their franchises might meet with increased scepticism. Despite legitimate fears over the impact the recession would have on the 2009 season, in the end, industry revenues were flat. (According to MLB COO Bob DuPuy) Recently, Fitch Ratings released a positive report on the state of MLB and The Sports Business Journal reported that MLB will soon renew it’s “credit facility” after failing to do so at the same point last year. If the diminished demand for free agents continues this off season, will the “it’s the economy, stupid” argument be viewed as credibly as it was last off season?

Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News, reported LWIB on comments made by player agent Scott Boras during the General Manager’s meetings in Chicago

Boras chastised owners of some teams for pocketing revenue distributed through MLB that the agent labeled at $80 million per club. He accused the owners of financing the purchases of their teams by pocketing that money rather than investing it in players. He also suggested MLB is rolling in cash, even if teams are crying poverty.

"I would say, based upon their 'bad economy' forecasts from last year, I would not invest in their stock choices," Boras said.

If the owners are, or have been in recent years, colluding to control salaries for free agents, will their conspiracy be more difficult to prove than was the case in the late 1980’s?  David Pinto reacted to Michael Weiner’s recent comments:

It strikes me that MLB has learned to walk the fine line between compliance with the CBA and collusion. Weiner is trying to trying to knock them off the line, but he’s going to have a tough job of doing so. I don’t think anyone is going to leave the smoking gun statement that Peter Ueberroth did in the 1980s.

The “smoking gun statement” that Mr. Pinto refers to is then commissioner Ueberroth’s private address to the owners in October of 1985. In his book “May the Best Team Win, Baseball

Economics and Public Policy”, author Andrew Zimbalist wrote that during that owners meeting, the commissioner “reportedly scolded them for overspending on mediocre free agents.” During that same meeting, Mr. Zimbalist wrote that:

Lee MacPhail, director of the owners’ Players Relations Committee, delivered a speech arguing that players with contracts of three years and more spent nearly 50 percent more time on the disabled list than those with one-year contracts and that the average player with a three-year contract or more experienced a nearly twenty-point decline in his batting average after signing the contract.

The ultimately failed attempts of the owners to “collude” in the mid 1980’s also included, at one point, a very structured and formal approach. In his comprehensive retrospective on the history of MLB labour relations from the formation of the MLBPA in 1965 to the strike of 1994, John Helyar wrote in “Lords of the Realm”;

It was called the Information Bank, and it was simplicity itself. A club making an offer to a free agent reported it to the PRC. That was called an information “deposit”. A club wanting to know what others bid for a free agent could call the PRC and make an information “withdrawal.”

The idea was to stimulate the market enough to blunt charges of collusion, while at the same time keeping a rein on the market. The signal was clear: Okay, guys, you can bid now. But don’t top the other guy’s offer by much.”

As Mr. Pinto alluded to, if there is a collective approach within MLB to controlling free agent compensation, the approach is more subtle than that used in the 1980s. Last November, former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volker (former “Blue Ribbon” panel member also) addressed a meeting of the MLB owners to discuss the state of the economy. At the time, Barry Bloom reported for MLB.com, “Selig declined to elaborate on Volcker's remarks, but he said a message had obviously been sent to the owners.” The absence of offers to free agent Barry Bonds was not the only development during the 2007 off season to cause consternation amongst the players side. Again from Marc Edelman’s aforementioned paper, “Moving Past Collusion in Major League Baseball: Healing Old Wounds and Preventing New Ones."

…Selig allowed MLB clubs’ general managers to meet with one another and discuss their 2007 off-season rosters plans by openly stating what players they were making available for trade. This marked a substantial change from the past practice at General Manager Meetings.

The idea of club general managers openly discussing personnel plans was first suggested by General Manager Meetings co-chais Theo Epstein and Larry Bienfest as a way to create more dialogue and stimulate trades. The MLB clubs, however, never informed the MLBPA in advance about these activities, nor was the MLBPA invited to send counsel to police them.

Record industry revenues have resulted in extended labour peace in MLB. If the next CBA (the current one expires in December 2011) can be negotiated without labour interruption, commissioner Selig might rightfully claim that improved labour relations is his greatest legacy.

However, with unresolved allegations of “collusion” the past two off-seasons, and a strong likelihood of another this off season, there is potential for a return to more divisive relations. Mistrust between the two sides arising from the collusion settlements of the 1980s has never subsided. Outgoing MLBPA executive director Donald Fehr (who will remain one of the most important participants in the next CBA negotiations) is believed to still harbour bitter resentment toward commissioner Selig over the collusion wars of the 1980s. Mr. Fehr’s successor, Mr. Weiner, is also a veteran of the collusion era, joining the MLBPA in 1988. Mr. Fehr and Mr. Weiner will never forget that arbitrator George Nicolau (one of two arbitrators to rule in favour of the MLBPA in the 80s collusion cases) identified commissioner Selig (then Milwaukee Brewers owner) as one of the most active owners in their attempts to manipulate the free agent market. Former commissioner Fay Vincent described commissioner Selig as one of the “ringleaders” of collusion. Commissioner Selig has never admitted to playing a role in the “collusion” of the 1980s and many owners and club officials of that era (including Mr. Ueberroth) have never been convinced that their activities were anything other than an attempt to operate MLB in a fiscally responsible manner.

At the same time, heading into his first CBA negotiation as executive director, Mr. Weiner needs to prove to the players and their agents that he will be as formidable a leader as his predecessor. As well, there is a growing constituency of veteran players in the MLBPA who have been openly critical of the diminished opportunities they meet in the free agent market while “rookie compensation” is escalating.

Whether there is or is not collusion in MLB, the issue is once again a point of contention in labour relations. And the history of labour relations in MLB informs us that if there is an issue capable of wrecking labour peace it is collusion.


OTHER NEWS FROM THE BUSINESS OF SPORTS NETWORK

(THE BIZ OF FOOTBALL)

(THE BIZ OF HOCKEY)

(THE BIZ OF BASKETBALL)

(SPORTS BASH)


Pete Toms is an author for the Business of Sports Network, most notably, The Biz of Baseball. He looks forward to your comments and can be contacted through The Biz of Baseball.

Don't forget to register and log in on The Biz of Baseball site to get updates via your in-box, and see information only logged in members can see.

Follow The Biz of Baseball on Twitter Twitter

FacebookFollow the Business of Sports Network on Facebook

 
 
Banner

Poll

Should MLB Force Jeffery Loria to Sell the Marlins?