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MLB players’ union files complaint over revenue sharing

The Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) has filed a grievance against four franchises, accusing them of failing to comply with rules as to how they spend revenue-sharing money. 

The grievance names the Miami Marlins, Oakland Athletics, Pittsburgh Pirates and Tampa Bay Rays as the teams that the MLBPA believes have not operated within league rules and regulations.

Out of MLB’s 30 franchises, the Marlins last year placed 20th in terms of payroll, with the Pirates 25th, the Rays 27th and the A’s 28th, according to the Associated Press news agency.

The current Collective Bargaining Agreement, signed by both the MLBPA and MLB, states that “each club shall use its revenue-sharing receipts … in an effort to improve its performance on the field”. The same agreement also prohibits teams from using this money for debt related to franchise acquisition or any debt not related to improving the team’s on-field performance.

Should the MLBPA not be able to settle the case, it would proceed to a hearing before Mark Irvings, the independent arbitrator for baseball.

Speaking last week ahead of the filing, New York Mets player Todd Frazier told the USA Today newspaper: “If we got to ruffle a few feathers, so be it, because this game needs the best players. We need some questions answered. We got to figure it out. we got to figure something out.

“It’s frustrating. And it’s weird. It’s like we have to really look into what happened last season. We got to move forward with some action.”

However, while MLB confirmed in a statement it had received the grievance, the league said it believes the filing “has no merit”.

Pirates president Frank Coonelly also hit out at the move, rejecting claims that the team was not operating within the league’s rules and branding the filing as “patently baseless”.

Coonelly said in a statement: “Our revenue-sharing receipts have decreased for seven consecutive seasons while our major league payroll has more than doubled over this same period. Our revenue-sharing receipts are now just a fraction of what we spend on major league payroll.

“We also have made significant investments in scouting, signing amateur players, our player development system and our baseball facilities.”