MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark on Tuesday issued a statement, reiterating that there will be no union boycott of spring training but taking a swipe at teams for the lack of free-agent signings with pitchers and catchers slated to report next Tuesday.
Clark described a game that is enjoying record-high revenues and franchise values, yet in which “a significant number of teams are engaged in a race to the bottom.”
“Pitchers and catchers will report to camps in Florida and Arizona in one week. A record number of talented free agents remain unemployed in an industry where revenues and franchise values are at record highs.
The dueling statements come after top baseball agent Brodie Van Wagenen’s inflammatory comments about increasing player frustration at the slow free-agent market in which he hinted at a boycott this spring.
On the heels of Van Wagenen’s remarks, Clark over the weekend released a statement saying that players would not boycott camps. League officials said a boycott would violate MLB’s collective bargaining agreement.
Another earlier report said one unidentified free agent was prepared to hold out until midseason because of what he perceived as a lowball offer for his services.
ESPN noted that circumstances entering camps “are unusual enough that the MLBPA and its membership have discussed the possibility of a separate free agent camp for unaffiliated players this spring.”
Commissioner Rob Manfred last week cited several factors that have contributed to this winter’s slow market.
Still, many quality players who are too expensive for their teams’ salary caps or have rising/declining value will hit the market.
These players not under contract for next season and are free so sign with anybody without tender restrictions come March 14. Here is our ranking and analyses of the best unrestricted free agents.
This list will be updated as players come off the open marking via tagging, re-signing or agreeing to contracts with new teams.
Brees isn’t leaving New Orleans, as he’s still playing at a high level, and his team is back in Super Bowl contention. The only question: For how long he will sign?
Plenty of talented veterans will be available in the current 2018 NFL free agency pool. But those players will soon get some big-time company on the open market from notable names cut by their teams to help save money under the salary cap.
For some teams, cutting a former Pro Bowler or two make sense; other such moves do not.