The baseball commissioner's office is investigating whether New York Yankees President Randy Levine was guilty of tampering when he said Friday that he would offer Angels outfielder Mike Trout a 10-year contract.
The Angels are furious that Levine dropped Trout's name into an interview regarding the Yankees' decision not to match the 10-year contract the Seattle Mariners offered to 31-year-old second baseman Robinson Cano.
"If it was Mike Trout, I'd offer him a 10-year contract," Levine told reporters in New York. "But for people over 30, I don't believe it makes sense."
Trout is 22. The Angels have had preliminary talks with his representatives about a long-term extension, but he would not be eligible for free agency -- and thus available for the Yankees or other teams to buy -- until after the 2017 season.
Levine told the New York Daily News that he realized the comment "could be misconstrued," so he called Angels President John Carpino to apologize. Levine also said he spoke with MLB.
"My understanding is the matter is over," Levine said.
Carpino declined to confirm Levine's account or discuss the conversation. MLB has not completed its look into the matter, according to a person familiar with the topic but not authorized to discuss it.
Levine's comments might appear benign in context, but a league source noted that Levine could have made his point without using Trout's name. Club officials generally are forbidden from talking about players under contract to other teams, in part to avoid the perception that Team A is trying to drive up the cost for Team B to keep a player.
If the league decides Levine was meddling in the Angels' business, unintentionally or otherwise, the Yankees probably would be subject to a fine.
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