Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos issued a statement Wednesday evening in response to players union chief Tony Clark’s concern regarding comments he made during a conference call with media earlier in the week.
Anthopoulos said he “had a chance to get a sense of what the other clubs are going to do in free agency.” Clark said Anthopoulos’ statement calls “into question the integrity of the entire free-agent system.”
“The clear description of club coordination is egregious, and we have launched an immediate investigation looking into the matter,” Clark said.
Tension is perhaps at an all-time high between players and teams after two slow winters. The MLB offseason has become a waiting game — opposed to the frenzies of other American professional sports — where teams are waiting out the market and seeking value.
Some, insiders and outsiders, have thought collusion among teams is possible, if not the present reality. Aside from being an obvious collective-bargaining agreement violation, that there are even concerns of such behavior proves unhealthy for a sport that’s at a crossroads with a potential lockout looming.
Anthopoulos issued a statement in response to the MLB Players Association via the team:
“In advance of the general managers meetings, I called around to clubs to explore the possibility of potential off-season trades. At no time during any of these calls was there discussion of individual free agents or the Braves’ intentions with respect to the free agent market. To the extent I indicated otherwise during my media availability on Monday, I misspoke and apologize for any confusion.”
Anthopoulos and his peers will be available to the media at next week’s GM Meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz.
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