SBD/February 24, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

MLBPA Exec Dir Tony Clark Concerned About Free Agency, Qualifying Offer Processes

Clark noted many good players have yet to be signed by MLB teams
MLB free agency "isn't completely free anymore," as several players remain unsigned because "no team has yet proved willing to surrender a draft pick to acquire" certain veterans, according to John Tomase of the BOSTON HERALD. MLBPA Exec Dir Tony Clark would "like to address that issue" when the CBA expires in '16. He said, "The way the free agent market has played itself out over the last couple of years suggests that draft pick compensation in the free agent market in general is a concern that we’re paying attention to. Obviously, we still have guys, very, very good players, quality players that can help a number of clubs, who are still on the market." Clark added, "I don’t think it’s in anyone’s best interests, what’s happening right now, clubs or the players. But if it’s something that has to be addressed come 2016, then we’ll address it then" (BOSTON HERALD, 2/23). Clark said, "I don't see how it's beneficial to anyone when quality ballplayers are sitting at home that can have an impact on the field and in the clubhouse for any one particular team." He added that he has "some concerns about the qualifying offer process." Clark: "Sometimes those offseasons work well, sometimes they don't. In this instance, there seem to be other dynamics playing into it. That's why we're paying as much attention as we are" (BALTIMORESUN.com, 2/23).

CHANGING OF THE GUARD IN NFLPA? In Boston, Ben Volin noted former NFLer Sean Gilbert is "planning for a coup" against NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith in '15. Several agents said that Gilbert "spent the weekend in Indianapolis trying to recruit agents to side with him as he prepares to challenge Smith." One factor "working in Smith's favor is he has a strong ally" in agent Drew Rosenhaus, who reps "more than 100 active players" (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/23).

PLAYERS SLACKING IN NBPA SEARCH? In Boston, Gary Washburn noted the NBPA still "has not chosen an executive director and those close to the situation are annoyed at the apathy of players given the apparent misdoings" of previous Exec Dir Billy Hunter. Taking "so long to choose a leader and the apparent disinterest of key players almost makes certain the players will be unprepared" when the next CBA comes up and the "owners potentially opt out" in '17 (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/23).
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