MLBPA Looking to Hold Free Agent Spring Training

The MLB free agent period has moved a lot like molasses this year as it has quite possibly been the slowest one yet.  Even more unusual is the Major League Baseball Players Association is planning to hold a free agents spring training and is currently scouting sites in Florida and Arizona to hold this unique offer for as many as 100 free agents.

First off, this idea is AWESOME, but has it down sides.  We have to question who the coaching staff will be, training staff, medical staff, etc.  Even more importantly, how will this be funded?  I’m sure the players will still want some sort of stipend for this and you bet the coaches and trainers will.  As for where, the IMG baseball academy in Bradenton, Florida was believed to be among at least three options and that’s really the only option I’ve seen as a suitable host because I haven’t heard anything about the other two favorites to be possible sites.

However; this idea that might become reality has become unsettling to many in the league office, including MLBPA executive director Tony Clark.  “This year a significant number of teams are engaged in a race to the bottom,” he said in a statement on Tuesday, per MLBPlayers.com.   He then added “This conduct is a fundamental breach of the trust between a team and its fans and threatens the very integrity of our game.”

MLB then offered the following (below) statement regarding Tony Clark’s statement.

I expected this sort of stuff from the NBA and NFL, but from the MLB?  You can load up on young talent in those leagues and they’ll have an immediate impact.  In baseball though you have to develop these players, and if you have Dave Dombrowski as your GM, they all get traded away anyways.  There’s also no guarantee that the kid will turn into anything anyways and you just wasted all of that time grooming for nothing so why compete for the first pick?  That statement was most likely made to create some sort of fear factor to generate some movement from the teams to sign these free agents.

If Clark’s statement wasn’t enough, our favorite agent Scott Boras was in on the action to.  “This tanking mechanism has dramatically interrupted the timing of the [free-agent] process,” he told Bob Nightengale of USA Today.  Of course anything Boras says I take with a grain of salt the whole salt shaker.  He’s just trying to speak up for his players, that’s all, but can you blame him?  I mean, nearly 100 players are still looking for places on rosters this season, 100.

Are owners and GM’s being stingy or are this years free agents just not worth the money?  I’m sure it’s a bit of both.  However; in the Red Sox case, I’m sure J.D. Martinez is a great guy and all and is a good talent but he’s not worth 7 years and $210 million which is what Boras wants for him.  The Red Sox rebutted with a 5 year offer and even that might be too much.

All I know is that this free agent spring training should be fun if it happens and boy do I wish it does.  Especially if they play other MLB teams, that would be grade A entertainment.

Written By: Brian Berard (@RockyBerard)

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