Tony Clark, MLBPA Executive Director, released a statement today, saying that “a significant number of teams” this offseason are not making moves because they “are engaged in a race to the bottom[,]” and that this “threatens the very integrity of the game”. In response, MLB released a statement, blaming agents for a failure to “accurately assess the market.”
This is just the latest in the escalating drama between players and owners, which has been brought to a head with the extraordinary lack of activity in the free agent market this offseason. MLBPA has had to shoot down the possibility of a player boycott of spring training, which was broached in a public statement by prominent agent Brodie Van Wagenen, and yesterday’s stunningly low 2 year, $17 million deal agreed to with the Mets by free agent Todd Frazier no doubt has exacerbated player concerns.
Unfortunately for the players, the current CBA runs through 2021, so their options are limited in regards to attempting to achieve fundamental changes in the pay structure for the next few years. And with a monster free agent class coming in the 2018-19 offseason, highlighted by Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Clayton Kershaw, a year from now all this could be forgotten.
But for now, there’s at least signs that lines are being drawn for a potential fight between the union and the owners down the road.