M Major League Baseball (MLB) executives tell TIME that the league has completed investigations into possible collusion between the two owners Suppressing the market for free agency survey superstar slugger Aaron Judge. Major League Baseball said it found no collusion in the case.
“We’ve done our investigation,” a senior MLB executive told TIME. “We have informed the MLBPA that there is no basis for any allegations of collusion.”
The MLBPA declined to comment. The Players Association can still file an appeal; an independent arbitrator will handle the case. To win before an arbitrator, the MLBPA must show that communications between the Yankees and Mets harmed Judge’s free agency.
An article on SNY.com in early November titled “Mets Won’t Fight Yankees for Aaron Judge,” New York Mets “will Judge sees the Yankees as uniquely an icon in their uniform, stadium and branding efforts. [Mets owner] Steve Cohen and [Yankees owner] Hallsteinbrenner enjoy a relationship of mutual respect , and don’t expect to upend the relationship with a high-profile bidding war.” The article prompted the MLB Players Association to ask the league to investigate communications between Cohen and Steinbrenner. New American League home run record — 30-year-old Judge finished with 62 at-bats. Judge filed for free agency earlier this month, the biggest takeaway of this offseason. Judge, who was named AL MVP on Nov. 17, turned down a $213.5 million contract offer in April, betting on himself that will almost certainly pay off handsomely. He beat the Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani for the MVP award, no easy feat: Ohtani was a top-five hitter and pitcher in the game, passing Babe Ruth as the best dual-threat in baseball history.
Judges could earn over $300 million on the free market. The San Francisco Giants, a native of Lyndon, Calif. — a small town about 75 miles east of San Francisco — attended Fresno State University and could be an attractive hometown option. The judge arrived in the San Francisco area on Monday. “Visiting some family and friends; that’s it,” Judge said in a video when asked what he was doing in the Bay Area. He blinked at the camera.
However, staying with the Yankees would have many benefits. He could finish his career on one of the sport’s biggest names in the media capital of the world. Some of the all-time greats such as Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig and Derek Jeter distinguished themselves in the sports world by spending their entire careers with the pinstripes. The Yankees made it to the American League Championship Series four times during Judge’s six seasons, losing each time to the Houston Astros. The Yankees haven’t made or won a World Series since 2009. Suffice it to say, Judge still has some unfinished business in the Bronx. But will he work there?
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