MLBPA Files Grievance Over Teams' Revenue-Sharing Spending
The MLBPA has "filed a grievance" to the league against four teams -- the A's, Marlins, Pirates and Rays -- claiming they have "failed to comply with rules of how they spend their revenue sharing money," according to Marc Topkin of the TAMPA BAY TIMES. Teams are "required to spend their revenue-sharing money to improve the on-field product," according to terms of the CBA, though "not necessarily on their major-league payroll." The Rays are "considered one of the biggest revenue-sharing recipients, getting what is believed to be" about $45M a year. MLB in a statement confirmed it had received the grievance but believes it "has no merit." The complaint covers the '17 season and the current offseason, though it is "not clear what the result of the grievance could be even if the teams were found to be in the wrong." The union last month notified Commissioner Rob Manfred's office that it was "concerned about what the Marlins and Pirates were doing and asked for answers" (TAMPABAY.com, 2/27). Pirates President Frank Coonelly today called the grievance “patently baseless.” In Pittsburgh, Bill Brink notes the Pirates’ revenue-sharing income "has decreased in recent years as local revenue, driven by increased attendance and three consecutive playoff appearances from 2013-15, has increased" (POST-GAZETTE.com, 2/27). USA TODAY's Gabe Lacques notes the grievance is the "first official salvo fired in a rancorous winter" between the league and union. While perhaps a dozen teams are "taking a passive approach to competing this season," the Pirates, Rays, Marlins and A's "have been perennial revenue-sharing recipients who remain in the bottom third of payrolls." MLB in a statement said it does not "have concerns" about the Pirates and Marlins' compliance "regarding the use of revenue sharing proceeds" (USATODAY.com, 2/27).