By Ross Sutton
Ken Rosenthal has reported that the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) has decided to open up their own spring training facility at the IMG academy in Florida for all of the unsigned players to showcase their skills. The MLBPA will be paying for the players’ living arrangements and the camp will be lead by former Astros manager Bo Porter. This seems like a great idea as the free agents can get into their normal routine to get ready for the 2018 season, despite not being signed by a team. One interesting aspect of this news is that the MLBPA will not allow the players to bring their own personal trainers to the facility. This might lead to a large number of players deciding to stay home and continue to work out with their personal trainers and getting ready for the season that way rather than going to the free agent spring training facility. Tony Clark, the Executive Director of the MLBPA, said that there are a number of teams “engaged in a race to the bottom” that “threatens the integrity of the game”. Numerous teams have recently stripped down their rosters and gotten rid of anyone with trade value in order to receive good prospects to revamp their farm systems. This seems to be the main reason why the players and players association are so frustrated with the free agent market this winter as it appears that teams are more interested in getting high future draft picks than being competitive this upcoming season. With so much tension between the players and the upper management of teams, my concern is that there could be bigger issues down the road when negotiating the next collective bargaining agreement between the two sides.
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