Union looks for changes in baseball’s economics after expiration of CBA in 2021
CLEVELAND — MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday there has been one preliminary meeting with the union to discuss the collective bargaining agreement that expires in 2021.
Tony Clark, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, is concerned that the game’s economics are changing, evidenced by the delayed signings of free agents Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel.
“We are interested in restoring meaningful free agency,” Clark said. “We are interested in ensuring the best players are on the field at all times. You can pay players more than $555,000 (minimum salary). Teams are choosing not to.”
Said Manfred: “Our free agency process has produced more $100M contracts than any professional sport.” He also noted that MLB has no salary cap or franchise tag, creating “the free-est free agency.”
• Manfred said the National League adopting the designated hitter is not inevitable, but he said it’s an issue that won’t come up for debate until 2021.
• MLB tweaked the rules for the All-Star Game, planning to put a runner on second base to start any inning beyond the ninth. It’s a rule used at other levels of baseball and softball, including the minors.
“It was useful in the minor league to make sure we have games that aren’t too long,” he said. “I’m not ready to endorse it as an everyday activity for us.”
• He said it’s difficult to mandate that all teams extend protecting netting to the foul poles. The Pittsburgh Pirates, however, have said they will do so.
“We recognize it was very difficult to set one rule that applies to 30 different ballparks given their (fields’) structural differences.”
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .