MLBPA refutes talk of spring training boycott

Sporting News
The MLBPA refutes reports that players are planning to boycott spring training.
The MLBPA refutes reports that players are planning to boycott spring training.

The Major League Baseball Players Association issued a statement Sunday refuting reports that players might boycott spring training.

"Recent press reports have erroneously suggested that the Players Association has threatened a 'boycott' of spring training," the statement read. "Those reports are false. No such threat has been made, nor has the union recommended such a course of action."

Prominent baseball agent Brodie Van Wagenen posted a message on Twitter Friday that a "a fight is brewing between MLB and the union, suggesting a boycott might result. The MLBPA, players and agents have expressed frustration this winter over a slow free agent market, with more than 100 players still available.

"Bottom line, the players are upset. No, they are outraged," Van Wagenen wrote. "Players in the midst of long-term contracts are as frustrated as those still seeking employment. Their voices are getting louder and they are uniting in a way not seen since 1994.

"A fight is brewing, and it may begin with one, maybe two and perhaps 1,200 (players) willing to follow. A boycott of Spring Training may be a starting point, if behavior doesn't change."

The last work stoppage in MLB came in 1994, when players walked out to protest owners' attempt to introduce a salary cap into the game. The strike began Aug. 12, 1994, and wiped out the remainder of the season, including the World Series.

On Friday, MLBPA executive director Tony Clark issued a statement expressing concern about the situation.

"For decades free agency has been the cornerstone of baseball's economic system and has benefited Players and the game alike," Clark wrote. "Each time it has been attacked, Players, their representatives and the Association have united to defend it. That will never change."

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