Agent Scott Boras told CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman about a half dozen or so anonymous team executives and officials broke league rules in a recent article by suggesting low player values for free agents
Boras, who is being backed by the players union, intends to pursue a grievance. He could go as far as to urge the league to use subpoena power to unearth the unnamed sources.
"It's a clear violation of the CBA," Boras said in a phone interview. "As many as five executives continue to use ESPN as a conduit to violate the collective bargaining agreement. The bell is rung. Kendrys Morales and Stephen Drew were damaged by these comments."
Boras added there needs to be a "remedy" for the two free agents, which could mean monetary damages. The ESPN article suggests the two free agents were hurt by holding out instead of signing early in free agency. The article also speculated the players stand to receive fairly meager contracts considering their resumes, mostly because of their decisions to delay signing.
However, MLB COO Rob Manfred disagrees with the story hurt the value of Morales and Drew.
"It is ludicrous, absurd, that one (Internet) report somehow alters the market for players who have been out there for months," Manfred said Saturday night by phone.
However, an MLB official said the league accepted the union's request to launch an investigation into the situation.
Scott Boras, the agent for free-agent shortstop
The purpose of waiting will be to remove the necessity to forfeit a draft pick by signing either player, as teams are required to do after both players declined the qualifying offers presented to them at the beginning of the offseason.
"The system they've been dealt has basically prevented them from free agency," Boras told ESPN.com. "They want to make sure about their next step, whatever that will be. It means either signing a long-term contract now -- and we're still taking offers on those -- or a number of other prospects that could occur after the season starts or in June, after the draft happens. Like any players, they want to play baseball. But they're also looking at the long-term aspect of their careers. This system has placed them not in free agency, but it's placed them in a jail."
Another player who declined a qualifying offer, Braves pitcher Ervin Santana, couldn't find a desirable multiyear deal this offseason and finally inked a deal equal to his qualifying offer this week.
While first baseman/designated hitter
General manager Jack Zduriencik told CBSSports.com that there has been continued dialogue with Morales and that the club does not hold a grudge after he declined the team's qualifying offer at the outset of free agency. The two sides still have work to do in negotations, but it wouldn't be surprising to see Morales return to Seattle at this point.
Cruz could fit a need in left field, where David Lough is considered the current starter. Morales would likely serve as DH over Nolan Reimold.
Also, a shorter deal with an opt-out clause for Morales could be available to the Orioles. Morales has lowered his contract expectations as his wait has lengthened. He could be open to a two-year deal with an opt-out after the first season.
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