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Rob Manfred spoke to the media on CBA topics

Sunday's Say Hey, Baseball includes Rob Manfred getting a head start on some potential CBA topics, Yovani Gallardo finally signing a deal, and another reason to never bunt.

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

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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.