Aaron Judge free agency
Brad Penner | USA TODAY Sports

An MLB investigation has confirmed what pretty much everyone but the MLBPA figured: The Mets and Yankees did not collude to hold back Aaron Judge’s free agency.

From The Post:

Aaron Judge, the biggest free agent on the market this winter, isn’t considered a victim of collusion between the Mets and Yankees — from MLB’s perspective — following an inquiry by the Commissioner’s Office into the matter. 

MLB has notified the MLBPA that the Mets and Yankees didn’t suppress the market for Judge, sources confirmed Tuesday, following an SNY report this month that indicated the Mets wouldn’t pursue the All-Star outfielder out of deference to their crosstown rival. Time.com first reported MLB’s decision. 

If the players’ association believes Judge has been wronged it can still file a grievance that would be heard by an arbitrator. A spokesman for the MLBPA declined comment. An MLB spokesman also declined comment. 

Does collusion happen? Of course. But this was, by all accounts, a union-requested fishing expedition. Even if the Mets had signaled to the Yankees they did not plan to pursue Judge out of professional courtesy, the Giants still exist. And the Dodgers. And 26 other big-league teams.

This was the (Mets-owned) SNY report passage that rankled the MLBPA:

Talking to Mets people about this all through the year, the team in Queens sees Judge as a Yankee, uniquely tailored to be an icon in their uniform, stadium and branding efforts. Owners Steve Cohen and Hal Steinbrenner enjoy a mutually respectful relationship, and do not expect to upend that with a high-profile bidding war.

The only way people involved can see the Mets changing course and pursuing Judge would be if the Yankees somehow declared themselves totally out of the bidding.

None of that adds up to collusion. Neither team gained anything from the Mets not being considered a top suitor. That the probe wrapped up so quickly is proof the union wasted everyone’s time.

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James Kratch can be reached at james.kratch@xlmedia.com

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.