Everybody knows New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge is the ultimate prize in the 2022-23 MLB free agency period.
The Yanks are still considered favorites to re-sign him, but it’s also possible he leaves.
Freddie Freeman left the Atlanta Braves, for example.
It’s not impossible Judge ends up elsewhere.
And, everybody knows the New York Mets could afford him if they wanted him.
A few days ago, however, the Mets reiterated their position not to pursue Judge.
Andy Martino of SNY reported this a few days ago: “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 Mets will not be fighting the Yankees for Aaron Judge:
"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." (via @martinonyc) https://t.co/U1wbmcvmiF pic.twitter.com/q6a8WUVdlh
— SNY (@SNYtv) November 3, 2022
MLB Is Investigating
MLB, as a result, opened an investigation to determine whether the comments from Mets sources in the SNY article about their hesitance to bid against the Yankees for Judge can be viewed as a violation of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
The MLB Players Association was the one requesting the league to investigate.
In theory, two owners having an agreement for one of them not to pursue one of their free agents can and should be viewed as a CBA violation, or collusion.
However, the league will determine if the relationship described falls into that category.
Apparently, it doesn’t.
“Rob Manfred said #MLB has started investigating claims of collusion between #Yankees and #Mets on Judge, but he’s “absolutely confident the clubs behaved in a way that was consistent with the (CBA) agreement,” David Lennon tweeted.
Rob Manfred said #MLB has started investigating claims of collusion between #Yankees and #Mets on Judge, but he's "absolutely confident the clubs behaved in a way that was consistent with the (CBA) agreement."
— David Lennon (@DPLennon) November 17, 2022
That is not the official result of the investigation, which is believed to be ongoing, but Manfred’s remarks make it sound unlikely there will be a penalty.