The MLB Players Association and the league are at odds again. The source of this controversy stems from comments made by general manager Alex Anthopoulos of the Atlanta Braves. With the offseason just beginning, the league and MLBPA seem to be entering a rocky time.
Anthopoulos made a statement to media members during a conference call earlier this week that caused some issues. MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark issued a statement regarding the words that Anthopoulos chose to use during the call:
Statement of MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark pic.twitter.com/Xk5gsJQuGM
— MLBPA Communications (@MLBPA_News) November 6, 2019
It is no secret that the past couple of offseasons have been less than ideal for the players. Deals have been slow to materialize, and some guys even have had to settle for a lot less than what they may have been worth in the past. Most notably, slugger JD Martinez, Bryce Harper, and Manny Machado all waited until late in February to sign their mega-deals over the past couple of offseasons. Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel could not find jobs until June of the 2019 season.
Teams have started to embrace what the Houston Astros did to build their juggernaut of a team. GMs and ownership are breaking down teams to nothing and then building them back up in hopes of sustained success. What this means is that there are teams actively trying to lose. This, in turn, hurts the free-agent market. Veteran players are being left to the side because teams have found that they can get close to the same play by becoming younger. It means less money for the players and that is not ideal for the player’s union.
The comments made by Anthopoulos may have been innocuous and completely innocent. The issue that the MLBPA might have with it is the slower offseasons and veteran players being left without jobs. With the current Collective Bargaining Agreement set to expire after the 2021 season, tensions with the league and players’ union have never been higher, and this just heightens that tension.