Do not mistake Lorenzo Cain’s
The game buzzed Thursday night about the Brewers’ daring set of plays, which included their signing of Cain,
Players believe the value dispute between the sides will last long enough that a number have discussed the possibility of staging a free agent training camp to mimic their typical spring work, according to sources. Others already are making workout plans independent of a possible camp. The players have coalesced around not just a depressed free agent market but anger over Major League Baseball’s
MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark met with commissioner Rob Manfred and deputy commissioner Dan Halem earlier this week to discuss pace of play, according to sources. Negotiating against the backdrop of the free agent market has complicated the possibility of a deal, sources said. Players continue to swap stories of their free agent experiences, which circulate among their peers in phone calls and on text chains that capture their dissatisfaction.
Some cry collusion, though no clear evidence to support that has manifested itself yet. Others fear clubs’ tactics are going to wipe out baseball’s so-called middle class. And others still hold themselves and the union culpable for not recognizing the owners’ willingness to weaponize the luxury-tax threshold and use it as a soft salary cap.
All of it is manifesting itself in ways executives, players and agents admit they’ve never seen. The dialogue between teams and the top players available has slowed to a crawl, according to sources. Over the past week, sources said, teams have re-engaged a significant number of middle-tier free agents – in some cases with a most unusual approach.
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