MLBPA Reportedly Preparing to Hold Spring Training for Up to 100 Free Agents

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistFebruary 8, 2018

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 06:  J.D. Martinez #28 of the Arizona Diamondbacks reacts at the end of the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game one of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 6, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The Major League Baseball Players Association is "scouting sites and making preliminary arrangements to conduct its own spring training for as many as 100 unsigned free agents," according to Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic added:

Given the unusually slow nature of free agency this winter, a number of players remained unsigned, with spring training opening for at least two teams by Feb. 12 and most MLB teams the day after.

"This year a significant number of teams are engaged in a race to the bottom," MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said in a statement on Tuesday, per MLBPlayers.com. "This conduct is a fundamental breach of the trust between a team and its fans and threatens the very integrity of our game."

Clark wasn't alone.

"This tanking mechanism has dramatically interrupted the timing of the (free-agent) process," agent Scott Boras told Bob Nightengale of USA Today while suggesting that free agency is around six weeks behind its usual schedule. "You have clubs creating non-competitive behavior. Four All-Star players bursting into the market completely affected the normal ebb and flow of free agency."

"You could argue you're going to compete with more clubs to get the first pick in the draft than you would to win the World Series," Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto added, per Nightengale.

MLB offered its own stinging rebuke of the MLBPA, its players and the agents in a statement: 

As for the MLBPA's plans for its various free agents come spring training, Brown reported it is "investigating sites in Florida and Arizona in case it determines a 31st camp is necessary. The IMG baseball academy in Bradenton, Florida, was believed to be among at least three options. The union also is identifying coaches and other personnel to staff the facility."

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