David Ortiz had some big things to say this week about the future of the Boston Red Sox. Unfortunately for Big Papi, what he said apparently broke MLB’s tampering rules, so now the league is reportedly sending him a letter containing a strongly worded message, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.
Maybe David Ortiz didn’t understand the rules, or maybe because he’s set to retire at the end of the season, he just didn’t care. Whatever the reason, however, MLB reportedly thinks he crossed the line when he lobbied for Marlins ace Jose Fernandez and Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion to move to Boston.
“He has incredible stuff,” Ortiz said of Fernandez (via the Boston Herald) during a press conference after the All-Star Game on Tuesday. “I thought he was going to end up playing with me this year. I mean, you never know. I want him in my starting rotation. I mean, we need a little bit of help and hopefully that happens at some point, who knows?”
Ortiz continued to give the Red Sox front office food for thought when he offered up a plan for replacing him as designated hitter next year.
“The Red Sox know that they need to reinforce the middle of the lineup,” Ortiz said. “And sorry Blue Jays, but who better than Encarnacion to do that?”
Ortiz may have uttered the marks off the cuff, but MLB rules are MLB rules, and the tampering clause is pretty all-encompassing:
“To preserve discipline and competition, and to prevent the enticement of players, coaches, managers and umpires, there shall be no negotiations or dealings respecting employment, either present or prospective, between any player, coach or manager and any Major or Minor League Club other than the Club with which the player is under contract, or acceptance of terms, or by which the player is reserved or which has the player on its Negotiation List, or between any umpire and any baseball employer other than the baseball employer with which the umpire is under contract, or acceptance of terms, unless the Club or baseball employer with which the person is connected shall have, in writing, expressly authorized such negotiations or dealings prior to their commencement.”
In other words, everybody, shush.
The MLB rule book does not make clear the punishment for tampering, but according to CBS Sports writer Mike Axisa, it’s likely to be a simple fine and not a suspension.