Remember when Jeff Suppan was a free agent and signed with the Pirates in 2003 for $1m after earning $4m in 2002 with the Royals?
He was one of numerous players whose agents started whispering the "C" word.. collusion.
Players union head Donald Fehr acknowledged in 2003 there was a concern:
"When you have changes in the market, what you do is, you look at the market, gather evidence, evaluate it, and then you form an opinion," Fehr said.
MLB shot back:
"Any suggestion there was collusion in this market is ridiculous," says Rob Manfred, Major League Baseball’s vice president for labor relations. "There was extensive activity and competitive bidding documented on all sorts of free agents."
Maury Brown is reporting that Bud Selig left out one agreement reached under the new CBA:
"It is being reported, that as part of the new agreement, payments have been awarded to the players after some 50 grievances were filed regarding collusion during the 2002 free agency period. The total dollar figure of the payments is reported to be $12 million."
I suppose we can’t blame Littlefield as 2002 was his rookie year in office. But agents don’t forget and it goes a long way explaining why the Pirates have such a hard time getting quality players signed in Pittsburgh..
.. the "C" word.