Un­cer­tainty over CBA could slow off-sea­son

Toronto Star - - SPORTS - RON­ALD BLUM

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ.— With base­ball’s col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing agree­ment set to ex­pire Dec. 1, trade talk and freeagent sign­ings could go slowly this off-sea­son.

Ma­jor league gen­eral man­agers gath­ered Mon­day for the start of their an­nual meet­ing, in the shadow of Camel­back Moun­tain, with gui­tar mu­sic play­ing over speak­ers and the smell of mesquite in the ho­tel court­yard.

There is an ex­tra level of un­cer­tainty.

“We don’t know what rules we’re play­ing yet un­der,” Bos­ton Red Sox pres­i­dent of base­ball op­er­a­tions Dave Dom­browski said Mon­day. “Know­ing some of that’s im­por­tant, be­cause I don’t re­ally know what we’re deal­ing with, and you wouldn’t want some­thing thrust upon you that sur­prised you — that there were penal­ties at­tached that you may not like or you may like.”

Ne­go­tia­tors for own­ers and play­ers have been meet­ing since spring train­ing and talks were set to con­tinue this week in Ari­zona.

The sides have not reached agree­ment on many of the con­tentious is­sues, in­clud­ing man­age­ment’s de­sire for a draft of in­ter­na­tional am­a­teur play­ers, the thresh­old where the lux­ury tax will start next year or whether there will be changes to the draft-pick com­pen­sa­tion sys­tem for pre­mier free agents. Base­ball has not had a work stop­page since 1994-95, and com­mis­sioner Rob Man­fred ex­presses con­fi­dence there will be an agree­ment by De­cem­ber.

“There’s cer­tainly un­cer­tainty un­til they do,” agent Scott Bo­ras said. “I’m sure they’re go­ing to want to know the im­pact of it. Why wouldn’t you?”

With teams op­er­at­ing un­der the rules of the old agree­ment, Toronto slug­gers Jose Bautista and Ed­win En­car­na­cion, and New York Mets out­fielder Yoe­nis Ce­s­pedes and sec­ond base­man Neil Walker were among 10 free agents to re­ceive $17.2 mil­lion qual­i­fy­ing of­fers Mon­day. The oth­ers: Chicago Cubs out­fielder Dex­ter Fowler, os An­ge­les Dodgers closer Ken­ley Jansen and third base­man Justin Turner, Bal­ti­more out­fielder Mark Trumbo, Texas out­fielder Ian Des­mond and Philadel­phia pitcher Jeremy Hel­lick­son.

Play­ers have un­til next Mon­day to ac­cept. For free agents who de­cline and sign else­where, their new team loses a high se­lec­tion in next June’s am­a­teur draft and their old club gets an ex­tra pick af­ter the first round.

Ap­prox­i­mately 160 ma­jor league free agents can start dis­cussing money terms with all teams on Tues­day. Yan­kees gen­eral man­ager Brian Cash­man said he al­ready reached out to the agent for Aroldis Chap­man, the hard-throw­ing closer who helped the Chicago Cubs win the World Se­ries af­ter a July trade from New York.

Cash­man met Fri­day with Yan­kees owner Hal Stein­bren­ner to dis­cuss pay­roll bud­get.

“I’m not go­ing to tell what the num­ber is, but he gave me a num­ber,” Cash­man said.

The lux­ury tax thresh­old was $189 mil­lion for each of the last three sea­sons, and a record six teams are pro­jected to pay this year: the Yan­kees ($27 mil­lion), the Los An­ge­les Dodgers ($25 mil­lion), Bos­ton ($6 mil­lion), Detroit ($3.9 mil­lion), the Cubs ($3.7 mil­lion) and San Fran­cisco ($3 mil­lion each).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.