It is no secret that Major League Baseball players are unhappy with how free agency has gone the last few years, with many veterans being forced to sign for contracts below market value, some even having to settle for Minor League contracts.
The current Collective Bargaining Agreement is in place through the 2021 season, but that is not stopping players from beginning some dialogue now.
Every spring, teams meet with the MLB Players Association to ask questions and express their concerns. Usually, each team meets with the Players Association individually, but this year things are a little different.
According to Evan Grant of SportsDay, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers and Chicago White Sox are choosing to hold their annual meeting together as a way to show player unity on the matter:
Instead of meeting individually with all clubs, as is the spring training norm, the MLB Players Association will meet with the Rangers, Dodgers and White Sox collectively. The change was made only in the last week. Union reps, headed by executive director Tony Clark, had been scheduled to meet with the Rangers alone Sunday morning. It’s the first time anybody around these parts recalls teams getting together for these annual meetings.
Spring Training games have already begun, and a number of the top free agents, including Bryce Harper, Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel remain unsigned. The same was the case for Manny Machado before inking a 10-year, $300 million contract with the San Diego Padres last week.
There are also a number of veteran free agents available on the market who are essentially being pushed out of the game in favor of younger, more cost-friendly players.
If this issue is not addressed before the next CBA then there is a realistic probability that the players go on strike. The Dodgers, Rangers and White Sox meeting on Sunday night is just the first of likely many actions that the players will take in the coming years.