There are two years remaining in Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement with its players, but a growing rift between the two sides suggests negotiations are going to be bumpy.
The latest conflict stemmed from a conference call between reporters and Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos. He told them, “Every day you get more information. And we’ve had time to connect with 27 of the clubs ... we had a chance to get a sense of what the other clubs are going to look to do in free agency, who might be available in trades.”
That set off alarm bells in the players union, which is wary of teams sharing information and suppressing the open market. Back when labor discord was the norm, owners colluded after each offseason from 1985 through 1987, and even outright refused to offer contracts to some of the biggest star free agents (including Kirk Gibson, and Hall of Famers Tim Raines, Paul Molitor, and Jack Morris). MLB eventually settled their collusion cases by paying $280 million to the players.
The collective bargaining agreement clearly states, “Players shall not act in concert with other Players and Clubs shall not act in concert with other Clubs.”