MLBPA rips teams for ‘race to the bottom,’ threatening integrity of game
It does not appear that there is going to be any type of organized boycott of MLB spring training later this month, but the MLB Players Association has made it clear that players are furious over teams refusing to spend this offseason.
In a statement released on Tuesday, MLBPA executive director Tony Clark released a statement ripping teams for what seems like a concerted effort to low-ball free agents.
Statement of #MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark Regarding the Integrity of the Game
— #MLBPA (@MLB_PLAYERS) February 6, 2018
“Pitchers and catchers will report to camps in Florida and Arizona in one week,” the statement read. “A record number of talented free agents remain unemployed in an industry where revenues and franchise values are at record highs.
“Spring training has always been associated with hope for a new season. This year a significant number of teams are engaged in a race to the bottom. This conduct is a fundamental breach of the trust between a team and its fans and threatens the very integrity of our game.”
With spring training right around the corner, top free agents like Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta and J.D. Martinez remain unsigned. One prominent player agent recently blasted teams for their unwillingness to spend money and threatened that there could be some sort of strike if things don’t change.
Since a new collective bargaining agreement is not being negotiated, a strike would not turn out well for the players from a legal standpoint. It’s hard to tell if teams are dead set against exceeding the luxury tax threshold or would simply rather spend their money next year when an even bigger class of free agents is set to hit the market, but it is likely a combination of both factors.