The Major League Baseball Player’s Association has filed a grievance against the Miami Marlins regarding the way they spend (or don’t spend, more specifically) the money they receive as a part of the revenue sharing agreement.
Though the news just broke about an hour ago, the actual grievance was filed this past Friday. As you can see from above, the Oakland Athletics, Tampa Bay Rays and Pittsburgh Pirates were also named in the grievance. The latter two teams have joined the Marlins in shedding payroll and jettisoning players, while the former can merely be accused of being tight-pocketed.
The market has been notably stagnant this season (in case you haven’t noticed), to the point where free agent players, their agents and the player’s union came together to create a “free agent camp,” where the players could continue to train while waiting for that phone call.
The revenue-sharing referenced in the most recent collective bargaining states that “each club shall use its revenue-sharing receipts...in an effort to improve its performance on the field” and prohibits use of that money to service debt related to franchise acquisition and service to debt not related to improving on-field performance.” (source: Business Insider).
Barry Jackson from the Miami Herald points out that the Marlins are slated to receive a tidy sum from MLB this season:
... So Marlins would get about $160 M from MLB this year before ANY of their local revenue is even factored in.— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) February 27, 2018
MLB has stated that they believe the case to be without merit. The Marlins as of right now have payroll obligations of around $90 million, which (if it holds) would be the third highest in franchise history, though the club is undoubtedly still entertaining offers on star catcher J.T. Realmuto and would leap at the chance to unload some of their larger remaining contractual obligations (Wei-Yin Chen, Martin Prado, Starlin Castro, Brad Ziegler and Junichi Tazawa).
Given the historic acceptance by the MLB of tanking movements, it’s hard to envision a scenario where Manfred comes down on the teams and sides with the players union. For better or worse, the Process™ is going to be allowed to play out.