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Saturday, February 23, 2019

Tony La Russa blames players for free agency logjam

Former manager Tony La Russa offered up a quote on Wednesday that goes a long way toward demonstrating the gap between how the ongoing free agency issue is viewed in Major League Baseball.

La Russa, now serving as a special assistant to Boston Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski, assigned part of the blame to players and their agents for asking for too much during contract negotiations.

“It’s strange, unique, makes you scratch your head,” La Russa said, via Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston. “The player and their representative, they have an obligation to be reasonable too. You can’t shoot for the stars. ‘Cause the teams, they want to win and they try to do the best they can. I just think that in the end, the best situations are when you have a real good agent and the player participates in his future. I mean the dam’s gotta break, and it’s going to break and it’s going to be a tsunami.”

The problem with La Russa’s logic is that player contracts have stagnated while revenues have continued to rise. Yu Darvish had to sign a $126 million deal two years after both Zack Greinke and David Price got $200 million deals, which doesn’t make a lot of sense. Players are asking for what they could have previously expected to receive in past markets. Teams just haven’t been willing to pay it.

You can bet, though, that many owners and executives feel the same way La Russa does, which is why you’re getting ominous quotes like this one from some players.

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