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Collusion, you knew it was coming.............

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Collusion, you knew it was coming.............

Postby wrveres » Fri Oct 31, 2003 3:15 am

Just my opinion but, If it doesn't happen soon, It will def. happen after this offseason. The Lawsuit.

Is there some central clearing house of "Figures" somewhere. I doubt it. You have to assume that all of these owners like each other, and they don't. But, the take it or leave it contract offered to Kenny Lofton and Reggie Sanders right before spring started was awful. I think I said so then.

Anyways... there will never be peace in baseball. Never. :-t

By Ross Newhan, Times Staff Writer wrote:Collusion Grievance Is Considered
As the baseball free-agent market prepares to open, the players' union is looking into whether owners kept salaries lower on purpose last year.
As Vladimir Guerrero, Miguel Tejada, Gary Sheffield, Andy Pettitte and several other high-caliber players prepare to test baseball's free-agent market, the players' union is considering filing a grievance through the industry's legal channels that would charge owners with acting in collusion to fix salaries during last winter's slow signing season.

Don Fehr, the union's executive director, would not comment. Sources close to the situation said Wednesday they did not know whether the union would officially act on its conviction that owners violated the bargaining agreement last winter or would simply use the threat of a grievance as warning against collusive activity this winter.

"It's important that the owners know that their actions of last year won't be swept under the rug," a person close to the union said.

It was before the start of the 2003 season that the union requested ownership documents pertaining to player negotiations during the preceding off-season.

Those documents, in addition to negotiating notes obtained from agents, have convinced the union, sources said, that owners conspired to restrict salary growth by: 1) reporting all offers through what one agent called a "central command" or information bank in the industry's New York office from which clubs could gather data on what other clubs were offering; and 2) employing the 60-40 rule — which prohibits respective clubs from having debt larger than 40% of assets and which was supposed to be phased in as part of the new bargaining agreement — as a salary cap of sorts.

The union, of course, has long been wary of collusion since the owners, in a series of grievances during the mid-1980s, were found guilty of violating the bargaining agreement and fined $280 million, which may have been less than they would have spent by continuing their free-spending habits of the pre-collusion years.

One result of those grievances is that ensuing labor agreements have called for treble damages if the owners are found guilty of collusion again.

"It's not an easy thing to prove," one agent acknowledged, "but there was a lot of circumstantial evidence out there last year. The clubs will argue that the signings of guys like Jim Thome [$72 million for six years] and Tom Glavine [$32 million for three years] serve to dispute collusion, but the union's focus is on what happened at the median level."

He referred to widespread, take-it-or-leave-it offers of $1 million for one year, the general neighborhood at which players of the Kenny Lofton, Reggie Sanders and Robert Fick caliber were forced to sign.

"Did the market look different last year?" said Rob Manfred, baseball's executive vice president of labor relations. "It looked different for legitimate reasons. I mean, it should not have been a shock that it looked different."

He cited the new labor agreement that moved industry economics in the direction of the clubs, a slow economy and a tightening of credit markets in general, and "the fact that there were too many clubs too deeply in debt and losing too much money."

"Even so," Manfred said, "there were several big signings like Thome and Glavine and competitive bidding up and down the line. The market was different, but it didn't look anything like the collusion years of the '80s."

Whether the union chooses to use the grievance as merely a threat or goes with it and risks blowing up the industry's comparative peace is uncertain, but one thing is not. It will be hard for the clubs to hold the salary line this winter given the caliber of a potential free-agent class far superior to last year's.

In addition to Guerrero, Tejada, Sheffield, Pettitte and shortstop Kazuo Matsui, the latest Japanese import, there is attractive depth at every position.

Among the familiar names are Greg Maddux, Javy Lopez, Todd Walker, Ivan Rodriguez, Luis Castillo, Brad Ausmus, Shannon Stewart, Eddie Guardado, Arthur Rhodes, Mike Cameron, Sidney Ponson, J.T. Snow, Rich Aurilia, Jose Cruz Jr., Bret Tomko, Rafael Palmeiro, Kevin Millwood, Bartolo Colon, Roberto Alomar, Eric Karros and about 200 more, which is all before clubs begin non-tendering arbitration-eligible players and high-salaried players who aren't eligible for free agency — an increasingly popular method of restricting salaries.

At a time when many clubs are retrenching under the luxury tax, 60-40 rule and general economy, it's uncertain how many will be big-time players in pursuit of the big-name players.

The union will be watching closely — if, in fact, it hasn't already begun legal proceedings by then.
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Postby Lofunzo » Fri Oct 31, 2003 3:19 am

Good article but where was the collusion when A-Rod got $25 million per? Donald Fehr should just thank his lucky stars that he still has a job.

There will always be an argument for or against. The players should just be grateful that they get paid millions of dollars to play a kid's game. Case closed.
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Postby Absolutely Adequate » Fri Oct 31, 2003 4:08 am

Well, Lofunzo, I don't know if the case is closed. The same argument could go "Owners should be happy they make millons by watching a kids game."

I would like to see lower profits and salaries across the board. Of course, then they'd be able to lower ticket prices and I could afford to go more often on a teachers salary.

Bah.
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Postby ramble2 » Fri Oct 31, 2003 4:25 am

The collusion filing is just a warning shot across the bow. It's the union working for the players - trying to create an atmosphere which will facilitate a competitive and healthy (?) free agent market.

Consider it the MLB Union's answer to the contraction threats from the owners.
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Postby wrveres » Fri Oct 31, 2003 4:50 am

ramble2 wrote:The collusion filing is just a warning shot across the bow. It's the union working for the players - trying to create an atmosphere which will facilitate a competitive and healthy (?) free agent market.

Consider it the MLB Union's answer to the contraction threats from the owners.


Agreed. The Problem is .... That contract's will be lower again this year. My guess is that the owners could argue that they are waiting for next season's FA class which should be huge, but still.

Salaries for "Avg Player" will be down this offseason ....IMO.

Fehr will feel 'unneeded' again and will def. file. But I agree. This is just 'A shot across the Bow' as the free agent season fires up..

As far as contraction. it is going to happen. In the new CBA the players cannot contest. If I remember right, it kicks in at the end of 2006. Also at the same time the contract is up, but before it ends.
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Postby Madison » Fri Oct 31, 2003 11:17 am

Good article. ;-D

That's another reason why I think Vlad will get a rather large contract. IF, and I said IF, there is collusion going on, more than 1 team will break that pact to get Vlad. Get set for the bidding war. B-)
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Postby ramble2 » Fri Oct 31, 2003 1:37 pm

wrveres wrote:
ramble2 wrote:The collusion filing is just a warning shot across the bow. It's the union working for the players - trying to create an atmosphere which will facilitate a competitive and healthy (?) free agent market.

Consider it the MLB Union's answer to the contraction threats from the owners.


Agreed. The Problem is .... That contract's will be lower again this year. My guess is that the owners could argue that they are waiting for next season's FA class which should be huge, but still.

Salaries for "Avg Player" will be down this offseason ....IMO.

Fehr will feel 'unneeded' again and will def. file. But I agree. This is just 'A shot across the Bow' as the free agent season fires up..

As far as contraction. it is going to happen. In the new CBA the players cannot contest. If I remember right, it kicks in at the end of 2006. Also at the same time the contract is up, but before it ends.


Oh I agree! Well, except that I'm not convinced contraction will actually go through (especially if MLB can get a stadium in Portland). That was shot aimed not only at the union, but at municipalities that haven't ponied up for new stadiums ...

Of course, this kind of posturing is not without costs. It's no good making threats if you aren't prepared to follow up on it, and that's why these 'shots across the bows' have a tendency to be self-fulfilling prophecies.

My hope, and this reveals me as an optimist's optimist, is that the union will agree to drop the DH in the AL if MLB doesn't go ahead with contraction. Unfortunately, this makes way too much sense to ever happen. :~(
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Postby wrveres » Sun Nov 02, 2003 3:14 am

ramble2 wrote:My hope, and this reveals me as an optimist's optimist, is that the union will agree to drop the DH in the AL if MLB doesn't go ahead with contraction. Unfortunately, this makes way too much sense to ever happen. :~(


Sir, we agree on a great many things... but that was a wonderful idea..WOW ... pass it forward ;-D ;-D ;-D ;-D

Another thought on the collusion front ... 1/4 ballplayers could be Free Agents this offseason 8-o

The owners clearly haven't colluded as brazenly as they did from 1985 through 1987, when top free agents received no offers at all unless their former employer disclaimed interest in re-signing them. Now suspicions center on a collective effort to depress salaries among the second and third tier of free agents by flooding the market with them. This is a smart operating strategy for any one club to implement on its own, but given MLB's labor history, when two dozen clubs suddenly get the same bright idea at the same time the MLBPA has good reason to investigate.


Here is the evidence to back up the claim. LOL ..its from MLB Itself...MLB.COM
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Postby mightyian5 » Sun Nov 02, 2003 2:23 pm

i wish they could just play ball......
theyre coming.....
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Postby Madison » Sun Nov 02, 2003 11:19 pm

mightyian5 wrote:i wish they could just play ball......


Me too, but when the salaries reached ridiculous numbers, the game became all about the money.
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