Rob Manfred didn’t punish the Houston Astros because he couldn’t. Indeed you heard that right.
According to Evan Drellich over at The Athletic MLB, Manfred would have been ‘smoked’ even if he never gave them immunity as he did. Even if you don’t agree with it, this is the story that is being told on why the MLB commissioner’s punishment was not more harsh.
Rob Manfred probably could not have successfully disciplined Astros players — even if he never gave them immunity. In a grievance, one source said, MLB would have been “smoked.” Another said the outcome would have been “brutal."https://t.co/W9svll5JKw
— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) February 18, 2020
According to the report at The Athletic, this is offered:
Any potential punishments to Astros players would have prompted grievances and wound up before an arbitrator. And in the words of an official with knowledge of these matters, MLB would have been “smoked.” Another person experienced in this area said that MLB’s case would have been “brutal” and the league would “look a fool.”
The reason? In labor relations, the concept of giving notice is hugely important. Management must clearly lay out how the workplace is to be run. That means providing both notice of the rules and notice of what type of punishment will follow if those rules are broken.
MLB had not worked out the right to punish anyone with the Major League Baseball Players Association, though that may change for the 2020 season.
Furthermore, Manfred says this in the story:
“The memorandum went to the general manager and then nothing was done from the GM down. So we knew if we had disciplined the players, in all likelihood we were going to have grievances, and grievances that we were going to lose on the basis that we never properly informed them of the rules. Given the fact that we didn’t think we could make discipline stick with the players, we made the decision we made. Having said that, I understand the reaction.”
While this seems unbelievable, somehow a loophole existed within baseball’s current policies that the players are protected. Even in the event of the game faces cheating or false result.
It feels like we have been talking about the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal forever. It’s been a few months. The craziest part of all this is that I feel like we may be just past halftime in the grand scheme of this story.