SBJ/July 1 - 7, 2002/Labor Agents

MLB pulls demand that player contract offers be pooled

Major League Baseball officials last week withdrew a demand that contract offers for players be placed in a information bank accessible to all teams, said Rob Manfred, MLB's chief labor executive.

MLB Players Association associate general counsel Gene Orza said, "Yes, the clubs withdrew a proposal that would have reversed an arbitration decision finding them in violation of the basic agreement." Orza was referring to a decision by an arbitrator that found owners colluded by sharing salary and bidding information about players through such a bank in the 1980s.

That information bank was not agreed to by the players. MLB's proposed new information bank would have required that all teams would be able to review offers. Baseball agents said that would put downward pressure on players' salaries.

Manfred said that since June, management had made several moves in the direction of players, but the union has not responded. "They, once again, did nothing all week," Manfred said.

Orza said, "What the clubs do really well is talk at the bargaining table while looking ahead to the next day's newspapers."

— Liz Mullen

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