The Red Sox had until Wednesday this week to call pitcher Andrew Miller up to the majors otherwise he could have opted out of his minor league contract with them. That time came and went and Miller was not on the major league team. He didn’t opt-out because the Red Sox had promised that they would soon call him up. However, in the meantime this happened, Via Jerry Spar of WEEI:
“I know this,” said Gammons, “There were a lot of teams that tampered and tried to get him to do the opt-out, including the New York Yankees. A lot of teams wanted him to opt out on Wednesday. Because of his trust for the Red Sox and how much they’ve invested in him — not in terms of money but in terms of effort to just get his delivery back and be patient with him, he stayed. In some ways, their fortunate. Because I think he could have gotten twice as much money if he had left.”
Basically tampering is when any team talks with a player on another team in an attempt to try to lure them away from their current team. It’s illegal in baseball and although I’m not certain what the punishment is it is likely to be stiff.
However, I have to think that when it comes to players like this who have opt out deals in their contracts, this sort of thing must be at least somewhat normal. Take Brian Gordon for example. His contract with the Phillies had an opt-out clause that allowed him to leave only if he found a team that would put him on their major league roster. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where he would know a major league team would put him on their roster without some form of tampering. It’s probably in the form of an agent calling around and saying, ‘if my client opted out of his deal, would you be interested?’
For what it’s worth, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has come out and flatly denied that he tampered with the Red Sox or Miller, telling Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger that it was, “Not true.”
I can’t imagine this goes much farther, but there is a possibility that this could force MLB to investigate.