MLB "looking into" whether David Ortiz broke tampering rules

NEW YORK -- David Ortiz has never been shy about saying what's on his mind. This time, though, it might earn him a slap on the wrist from Major League Baseball.

After playing in his final All-Star Game on Tuesday night in San Diego, Ortiz lobbied for the Boston Red Sox to trade for Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez. Big Papi also made a recruiting pitch for Toronto Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion, a free agent after the season, to replace him as Boston's designated hitter next season.

It all seemed harmless enough. But MLB is "looking into" whether Ortiz broke tampering rules, according to a league source. There aren't any indications that MLB will take disciplinary action in the form of a fine or suspension, but it's possible Ortiz could receive a warning letter from the league office.

"Tampering? I don't write no paycheck," Ortiz said Friday, chuckling at the very suggestion he committed a transgression. "I can say whatever I want. I'm not a GM or a team owner or whatever. I mean, if I say tomorrow that I want to play with LeBron James, is that tampering, too?"

The league source said players are subject to MLB's tampering rules, which stipulate "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."

Ortiz might have violated the spirit of that rule when he said of Fernandez, "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 went on to say of Encarnacion, "The Red Sox know that they need to reinforce the middle of the lineup [next year]. And sorry, Blue Jays, but who better than Encarnacion to do that?"