The Major League Baseball Players Association has filed a grievance against the Miami Marlins, Pittsburgh Pirates, Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays over concerns regarding revenue-sharing spending.
Union spokesman Chris Dahl confirmed Tuesday morning that a grievance had been filed Friday. When reached for comment by The Tampa Bay Times, who first reported the story, MLB responded with the following statement: "We have received the grievance and believe it has no merit."
The complaint covers the 2017 season and current offseason and claims the four teams singled out have failed to comply with the rules of spending revenue-sharing money.
Pirates owner Frank Coonelly responded to the grievance with a statement.
"The MLBPA's grievance against the Pirates is patently baseless," the statement reads. "We look forward to demonstrating as much to the Arbitrator if the MLBPA continues to pursue this meritless claim."
Marlins CEO Derek Jeter and Rays owner Stu Sternberg also reacted to the complaint.
"As we have done since the day we took over in October, we will continue to do everything we can to build a foundation for sustained success and improve this organization -- which has not made the postseason since 2003 and has gone eight seasons without a winning record," Jeter said in a statement.
"I think we're beyond what compliance is," Sternberg said. "We're very judicious in how we spend our money, but it's spent in a lot of forms and payroll is one of them."
Last month, the MLBPA voiced its concerns regarding the Pirates and Marlins as the two teams each traded star players in salary-shedding moves. The complaint was centered around whether the teams were properly spending their revenue-sharing money in order to improve.
"We have raised our concerns regarding both Miami and Pittsburgh with the commissioner, as is the protocol under the collective bargaining agreement and its revenue sharing provisions," union spokesman Greg Bouris said in a statement at the time. "We are waiting to have further dialogue, and that will dictate our next steps."
The commissioner's office responded with a statement of its own defending the two clubs.
"We do not have concerns about the Pirates' and Marlins' compliance with the basic agreement provisions regarding the use of revenue sharing proceeds," MLB stated in response. "The Pirates have steadily increased their payroll over the years while at the same time decreasing their revenue sharing. The Marlins' ownership purchased a team that incurred substantial financial losses the prior two seasons, and even with revenue sharing and significant expense reduction, the team is projected to lose money in 2018."
The Rays, Athletics, Pirates and Marlins are among the biggest beneficiaries of revenue sharing, which is intended to be used by smaller-market teams to improve the on-field product of their club, per baseball's collective bargaining agreement.
--Field Level Media