MLB players want 'meaningful free agency' back in early CBA talks with owners

MLBPA executive director Tony Clark spoke Tuesday morning in Cleveland. (AP)
MLBPA executive director Tony Clark spoke Tuesday morning in Cleveland. (AP)

Major League Baseball players are sick of the glacial free-agent periods. Though the current collective-bargaining agreement doesn’t expire until the end of next season, the MLB Players Association has already begun talks with owners, executive director of the MLBPA Tony Clark revealed Tuesday.

One of the main things the players want is a return to “meaningful free agency.”

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MLB free agency has been painfully slow over the past few winters. Elite free agents like Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and J.D. Martinez have sat on the market until February. Not only that, but their markets were severely restricted. Only two or three teams were interested in those players.

While Harper, Machado and Martinez eventually got paid, many others haven’t. Veterans like Derek Dietrich and Adam Jones had to settle for one-year deals. Dietrich couldn’t even get a major-league deal.

Fixing the issue won’t be easy. There’s not a simple fix that will make MLB free agency like the NBA, where Kawhi Leonard caught flack for sitting on the market for a couple days.

That’s part of the reason the CBA talks are happening now. The players’ frustrations have been building for a while, and the next round of negotiating could be contentious.

Engaging with the owners now gives both sides more time to figure out a compromise that benefits everyone. Ideally, it also prevents a strike, which would be the worst possible outcome for everyone involved.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

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