MLB: Players Voicing Their Opinions on Stalled Labor Market
MLB players have become more vocal in regards to many other free agents that remained unsigned and a system that is viewed as broken.
With many MLB free agents still available as pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, some players are starting to become more vocal with their frustrations. Currently, the focus of the offseason is on which team Manny Machado and Bryce Harper will sign with.
However, there are even more players that remain unsigned that could help a team. Players such as Dallas Keuchel, Mike Moustakas and others still haven’t been signed and some players aren’t happy about it. Justin Verlander of the Houston Astros expressed his opinion on the slow market and didn’t mince any words.
On Monday, the former Cy Young Award winner and American League MVP tweeted that there are 100 or more free agents left unsigned and the current system is broken. Verlander wasn’t the only player however to sound off on the slow-moving labor market this offseason. Christian Yelich, who was named National League MVP for 2018 also responded to criticism of Verlander’s comments from former Miami Marlins president David Samson.
What we’re seeing currently is a slow-moving market that could affect labor peace in baseball. With the current collective bargaining agreement set to expire after the 2021 season, there could be a work stoppage in MLB for the first time since the 1994 strike that led to the cancellation of that year’s World Series.
This certainly isn’t a good look for baseball. For a sport that struggles to market some of its best young players such as Mike Trout, having no labor peace over the next few years could threaten the start to the 2022 season. While some fans are of the belief that players make too much money playing a children’s game, there are other fans that believe owners are being greedy in not paying players what they’re worth.
Machado and Harper might believe they’re worth more than $300 million, but not many owners do. However, each player not signing a contract as of the middle of February isn’t good. On the flip side, other players are still available but there have been no reported offers for them. There needs to be some type of middle ground established soon.
If the next CBA can limit the number of years a player is under team control from six years to four, it would give players the opportunity to enter free agency much earlier and therefore have more value. Also, there needs to be a deadline for players to sign new contracts as free agents. Having this many unsigned free agents going into Spring Training doesn’t look well and doesn’t help players or teams.