MLB Players Association Rejected Proposal For Deadline To Sign Multi-Year Contracts In Free Agency
Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports

In recent years, MLB free agency has dragged on much longer than it used to, as established stars have struggled to find the type of contracts that once were commonplace across the sport.

The result has been the likes of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado remaining free agents when teams reported for Spring Training, and some even taking their free agency into the regular season, like Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel did this year.

It’s led to frustration and rumblings of a potential strike when the current collective bargaining agreement expires after the 2021 season.

It has become clear free agency is an issue that needs to be addressed, and according to Evan Drellich of The Athletic, MLB sent a proposal to the Players Association to impose a deadline by which teams would have to sign a free agent to a multi-year contract:

The league said in a statement that it “made a proposal earlier this month intended to accelerate the pace of signings in the offseason and increase activity during the Winter Meetings.”

While to the fans that may seem like a good idea, the MLBPA rejected the proposal under the belief it takes leverage away from their players who are looking for contracts they deserve:

“After due consideration, we rejected their proposal as not being in the best interests of players,” said Bruce Meyer, the MLBPA senior director of collective bargaining and legal. “We asked if MLB was interested in discussing other, more direct and tangible ways of incentivizing early signings and they weren’t at this time.”

Sources said the deadline would have been for the end of this year’s Winter Meetings, which are scheduled from Dec. 8-12 in San Diego. The date theoretically could have been adjusted.

While the MLBPA rejected MLB’s proposal that would have gone into effect this year, it appeared both sides would continue negotiating to find a solution in the future. But tension has risen as the MLBPA launched an investigation after comments made by Atlanta Braves executive vice president and general manager Alex Anthopoulos.

The biggest free agents currently available include Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg; each of whom have been linked to the Los Angeles Dodgers in recent weeks.

The Dodgers have shied away from long-term contracts even before the current freeze that has befallen MLB free agency, and don’t figure to deviate from that approach. However, there could be common ground with Rendon, who reportedly may prioritize salary over years.

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