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Tony Clark gets a three-year extension as the head of the Players Union

Thursday’s Say Hey, Baseball includes an extension for the MLBPA head, a potential new ballpark in Oakland, and a couple of trade rumors that would blow our minds five years ago.

MLB, MLBPA Announce New Labor Agreement Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Last winter, as most of the people reading this I’m sure will remember, was brutal. I’m not talking about the weather (although, if you are in the northeast it wouldn’t be untrue), but rather the pace of the offseason. Player movement was slower than ever and player angst was reaching something close to an all-time high. Everyone was getting incredibly frustrated, to the point where a work stoppage of some sort when this current CBA runs out after the 2021 season seemed inevitable. It’s early enough in this offseason that we can’t really make the conclusion that things will continue, but surely every player in the league is watching closely. After last year, a lot of the angst eventually turned around on MLB Players Association head Tony Clark and speculation began to spread that he wouldn’t be around long enough to lead the MLBPA for the next CBA negotiation.

Well, just like we learn every year with rumors about player transactions, you can’t trust everything you hear. The MLBPA is apparently sticking with what they’ve got, as the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that Clark has received a three-year extension to stick in his current role. That will, of course, keep him around through 2022 which means he will indeed be around for the next CBA under this new contract. This was certainly a surprise given the aforementioned rumblings about displeasure with Clark, but it ultimately served as a reminder that the player pool is large. There can be a lot of opinions that don’t reflect the majority.

The more you think about it, the more the extension makes sense for the Players Union. As we’ve alluded to, this upcoming CBA in a few years is an extremely important one for the game and particularly for the players. They are looking to get some of that power back they’ve lost slowly over the last 20 years, and they need to be in the strongest position possible heading into the CBA. Some (myself included) would argue that Clark is not the best option to do that, and someone with a more concrete labor background could fit better. That being said, the most important thing is to get your ducks in a row as early as possible and present a united front. With a new contract, Clark doesn’t have to be looking on his shoulder and can instead focus on doing everything he can to get the best deal for the players the next time around. The new CBA negotiations are coming more quickly than you think, and both sides realize how important this one is. Clark and the MLBPA got crushed last time around, and they’re hoping more experience will help even the score.