MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed confidence Thursday that an investigation would not reveal collusion between the New York Mets and Yankees. His comments came after a report Wednesday that the MLBPA believed the teams’ tacit agreement around free agent Aaron Judge violated the league’s collective bargaining agreement.

The MLBPA’s original claim involved a report from SNY which stated that owners Hal Steinbrenner and Steve Cohen would not engage in a bidding war for Judge because of a mutual respect for one another. If true, the MLBPA believes that this could violate a statute in the CBA which states, “Clubs shall not act in concert with other Clubs.”

Despite concerning the MLBPA, Manfred said that he did not suspect that the investigation into communications between Steinbrenner and Cohen would reveal any wrongdoing on either side.

“I was a labor [lawyer] first and labor rule one is you want to make sure when you make an agreement, you live up to the agreement,” Manfred said. “I’m absolutely confident that the clubs behaved in a way that was consistent with the agreement. This was based on [an internet] report.”

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Reports about the Mets pursuing Judge after seven seasons in the Bronx have been circulating for months but have also consistently clarified that Cohen and the Mets had no intention of actually making a move to sign him. The usual reason given was that Cohen did not want to interfere with a crosstown rival over their franchise player.

Communications between Cohen and Steinbrenner that will be investigated by MLB will likely include emails, phone records and text messages. The league’s investigation is supposed to determine the Mets’ motivation for not pursuing Judge and whether those motivations constitute collusion.

“We will put ourselves in a position to demonstrate credibly to the MLBPA that this is not an issue,” Manfred said. “I’m sure that’s gonna be the outcome. But obviously we understand the emotion that surrounds that word [collusion] and we’ll proceed accordingly.”

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