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MLB Players union files grievance against Rays

The Athletics, Marlins, and Pirates were also named in the filing.

Tampa Bay Rays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

It would appear the MLB players association are among those who believe the Rays are being stingy with their pocketbooks. In a story broken by Tampa Bay Times’s Marc Topkin, it was announced on Tuesday morning that the players union was filing a grievance against the Rays, claiming the team are not complying with rules of how revenue sharing income is spent.

In addition to the Rays, three other teams are named in the grievance: the Oakland Athletics, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Miami Marlins.

Currently the Rays receive around $45 million a year from revenue sharing. As we recently covered here on DRB, the Rays actually spend right on par with the MLB average:

In a press conference held at Tropicana Field, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred made the claim that MLB payrolls are increasing in line with revenue.

“We have been at a very stable — approximately 50 percent of revenue going to player salaries — for five, six, seven years,” Manfred said. “The math of that means that salaries are growing in line with revenues.”

Ben Lindbergh fact checked Manfred’s statement at The Ringer, and found that if you added up major league payroll, player benefits (insurance, pension, etc.), and postseason share payments the players cut of revenues have hovered around 50% since 2010... [and] that in 2017 the players took home 56.3% of total revenue.

Using the same method of analysis, JT Morgan found that as a percentage, the Rays spent 56.2% of revenue on their players in 2017. You can read the full story here.

Also noted in that article, the Rays will have their highest Opening Day payroll ever in 2018 at $77 million.

MLB, when reached for comment by Topkin, said, “We have received the grievance and believe it has no merit.” Whether this grievance will find any legs, and precisely what the players union are hoping the outcome of the filing will be remain to be seen.

It is certainly a bold public statement from the players about their feelings toward recent moves made by these four clubs.