Here’s the latest from MLBPA head Tony Clark, who gave an interview to the Associated Press last week in which he articulated his positions on a number of issues that could affect the next round of CBA negotiations once the current CBA expires in December. Here are the highlights.
- Clark expressed frustration that top players are still on the free agent market in February. (Presumably, Clark is referring to players like Ian Desmond, Dexter Fowler and Yovani Gallardo, who remain on the market after rejecting qualifying offers months ago. “I think it’s disappointing when there are as many talented players still without a home,” he said. “I don’t think it’s in anyone’s best interest to be in a world where very talented players are at home for whatever reason they are there. It will likely be a part of the conversation in bargaining.”
- Clark also said he might be in favor of some sort of draft lottery system. As opposed to the current system, which awards draft picks merely on reverse order of record, a lottery system might somewhat disincentivize the kind of so-called “tanking” seen in recent years from teams like the Astros (who got three straight No. 1 overall picks from 2012 through 2014) and Braves. “It will be beneficial to look at that, and not look at it in a vacuum but appreciate whatever it is that we attempt to negotiate there or propose there, that it ties into the other moving pieces and doesn’t create an imbalance,” Clark said.
- There are “very significant issues” with the idea of an international draft, Clark said, although he expects the idea will come up in CBA negotiations. (This isn’t the first time Clark has expressed doubt about the possibility of an international draft.)
- Unsurprisingly, Clark believes the luxury tax threshold should rise. The figure remains at $189MM, and its growth has not kept pace with industry revenue. The threshold has arguably constrained player salaries, as it has likely played a role in preventing some traditional big spenders (such as the Angels) from signing key free agents this offseason.