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On Friday, Rob Manfred traveled to Florida to speak with a group of Grapefruit League reporters on a myriad of subjects, and he’ll be traveling to Arizona to do the same thing at some point next week. Among the many, many topics he discussed at this meeting with the press, the most interesting may have been his thoughts on the free agent compensations system. This issue has been coming to a head for a while now, and the fight is reaching new heights this offseason. Manfred’s position appears to be that the draft picks aren’t actually penalties, which is quibbling with semantics. It’s clear that teams view them as a penalty. The commissioner believes some sort of compensation is key for competitive balance. That may be true, but this system comes at a huge price to the players, and it’s expected to be addressed later this year.
While that was the most interesting tidbit from the talks, he also touched on a number of other important subjects. Manfred discussed issues around the draft. He again harped on competitive balance as he praised the changes made to the amateur player compensation system in the last CBA agreements. Since these players are represented at labor talks, the current system will almost certainly remain in place next year. Finally, Manfred expressed his desire to expand, citing the schedule as just one part of the game that would benefit. However, he’s going to concentrate on the rocky stadium situations in Oakland and Tampa Bay, first.
In the end, proper context is always needed with talks like this, especially in a year like this in which the CBA is due to expire. Manfred is trying to get ahead of the player’s union on these issues that will clearly be the biggest sticking points in negotiations. While no one appears to be worried about a possible work stoppage, it will be an interesting negotiation session as both sides are led by first-timers. We have a long way to go until any agreement is finalized, but Manfred is starting to publicly state his cases for the status quo.
- The commissioner will also soon have to decide on the pending domestic violence cases surrounding Jose Reyes, Yasiel Puig and Aroldis Chapman. Reports have come out that the latter could be held out of spring training.
- Yovani Gallardo was one of the players affected by the qualifying offer, but his wait for a deal came to an end Saturday night.
- Meanwhile, we got Arte Moreno claiming his team is this close to being in debt. We all feel very sorry for him.
- Spring training is here, which unfortunately means injury news is here as well. The Pirates hope it’s nothing serious, but Gerrit Cole is suffering from some inflammation in his right rib.
- Terry Collins has been a somewhat polarizing manager, but could the Mets really have done better at the time of his hiring?
- Reports of an innings limit for Jose Fernandez came out this week, but it’ll all be moot if the Marlins don’t win early this year.
- There has been an increasing narrative that Mike Matheny can’t have fun, but there’s plenty of evidence to the contrary.
- Despite calling one of the best hitters parks home, the Yankees have built a staff that can deal with their home stadium.
- Houston may have a problem brewing in the back-end of their bullpen.
- Jerad Eickhoff is dealing with a thumb injury he got from bunting. Some are using this as a knock against bunting. While that may be true, it’s a bigger knock on pitchers hitting.
- Ian Kinsler has been a steady producer for years now, but there are signs he might finally be starting his decline.