With Scott Boras continuously making his opinions known and fellow top agent Brodie Van Wagenen chiming in to warn the league about how outraged the players currently are, player agents have mostly had the mic lately when it comes to annoyed or pissed-off statements about this offseason.
But MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark isn’t letting agents have all the fun, releasing his own statement about the lack of free-agent signings and the role teams are playing in creating the slow market.
Clark noted that Spring Training is in just a week’s time and that there are still a ton of free agents waiting for either a first offer or offers appropriately matching their skill sets, and also made sure to remind everyone that it’s happening in “an industry where revenues and franchise values are at record highs.”
His statement continues:
“This year a significant number of teams are engaged in a race to the bottom. This conduct is a fundamental breach of the trust between a team and its fans and threatens the very integrity of the game.’’
Tell us how you really feel, Tony! He went on.
“As we sit here on Feb. 6, having a historic number of guys available speaks to the concerns about competition on the field. Historically there have been teams that rebuild -- one or two here and there. You have an appreciation for a team looking to reposition itself. In a climate where a significant number of teams are taking that position, it calls into question what fans are supporting and what players themselves are competing against.
In case that wasn’t far enough, Clark then accused the league of going against the “underlying theme” of the CBA.
”Every player wants to play against the best. That’s just how we’re wired. To the extent that we have a historic number of players still on the market, it calls into question what exactly as an industry we’re trying to accomplish against the backdrop of competitive balance — which is the underlying theme of our collectively bargained agreement.”
This totally seems fine. At least the league didn’t then respond with a statement that slightly admitted teams are communicating with each other about free-agent value and also blaming all agents for being terrible at their jobs.
Oh they did do that? You don’t say!
MLB ‘s statement puts the onus on the agents for not knowing what their clients are worth, saying “It is the responsibility of players’ agents to value their clients in a constantly changing free agent market” and that it is “uncommon is to have some of the best free agents sitting unsigned even though they have substantial offers, some in nine figures.” Which is all but blaming players and agents for asking for too much ... which would be impossible to know for sure if the teams weren’t communicating ... which they’ve repeatedly denied is happening.
Awesome! Not only are the league and the players not on the same page here, but one side is reading Jane Austen at the library and the other side is catching up on their Russian tragedies at home on their Kindle. They couldn’t be farther apart and things aren’t looking good for them to magically get closer together.
But don’t worry, Todd Frazier got a deal and the Brewers have a pulse, so I’m sure things will smooth over eventually.
Just talked to an agent who believes that we won’t see many, if any of the top free agents come off the board until March.— Robert Murray (@RobertMurrayFRS) February 6, 2018
“It’s horrific,” the agent said. “I think that’s where we are headed.”
It appears that there are 12-15 Teams that have committed to tanking and or not putting the best team they can on the field. That strikes at the heart of the Integrity of the game and is truly unfair to the FANS who LOVE and SUPPORT these organizations! https://t.co/mjD3bolnjv— Alex Wood (@Awood45) February 6, 2018
If the true goal of @MLB is to capture the interest of fans, having the best product on the field every night should be the priority. If the best players aren’t out there, it doesn’t matter how long a game is. Our fans deserve to see the best of the best playing for Championships— Justin Turner (@redturn2) February 6, 2018
Never mind, this is about to be a disaster. Buckle up!