Tony Clark Member MLBPA Clock Free Agency Olympics

Executive Director of the MLB Players Association Tony Clark He spoke to reporters, incl David Brandt of the Associated Presstoday on a range of topics including the adjustments made to the stadium clock this offseason and the state of the free agent market.

Players on MLB's competition committee voted against a slate of rules changes approved in December, and Clark made clear he feels the adjustments to the pitch clock, which were implemented prior to the 2023 campaign, are being made too quickly. Clark noted that the rule changes “necessitate a much longer dialogue” before they are put into effect. The clock, which allowed 15 seconds between pitches when the bases are empty and 20 seconds with runners on last year, will allow only 18 seconds with runners on in 2024. No adjustments have been made to the clock when the bases are empty.

“We just made the biggest adjustment this league has ever seen in terms of game length and how it's affected, by including the clock,” Clark said, as quoted by Brandt. “Instead of giving us another year to adapt and adjust, why do we adapt again, and what are the consequences?”

Clark added that his primary concern with the pitch clock is the health of the pitcher, noting that shortening the recovery time between pitches may make game pitchers more susceptible to injury. The pitch clock adjustment wasn't the only rule change made this winter. The runners' lane was expanded to allow players to take a more direct path to first base, the maximum number of mound hits allowed in a game was reduced from five to four, and pitchers sent to warm up in an inning cannot be replaced without getting into the game to face at least one batter. .

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Also discussed during the press conference was the possibility of a free agent signing deadline, which MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred called for earlier this month. Manfred suggested that the December deadline would allow for “two weeks of accelerated activity” surrounding the annual winter meetings, though he noted that the MLBPA has rejected the idea of ​​a signing deadline in the past. Clark reiterated the union's opposition to the idea, noting that “the deadline will, in all likelihood, do more harm to the players in those talks than the other way around.”

The possibility of a signing deadline has become a hotly debated topic in the media and among fans this winter, thanks at least in part to the lack of movement at the top of the free-agent market in recent weeks. With spring training already underway, four of the top seven free agents from this winter's addition to the MLBTR Top 50 Free Agents list remain unsigned. Cody Bellinger, Blake Snell, Jordan MontgomeryAnd Matt Chapman. Each member of that quartet is represented by Boras Corporation, which has developed a reputation for encouraging its clients to be patient when hitting free agency. It's a tactic that has led to a range of results in the past; while Bryce Harper It received a $330 million guarantee in March 2019, Carlos Correa Instead, they settled on a surprise short-term deal with the Twins in March 2022.

While it is clear that the league hopes to limit the ability of both agencies and clubs to slow down agency play and create a short, active signing window similar to that seen in other major North American sports leagues, the MLBPA's resistance to such a plan makes it unlikely that The proposed deadline finds plenty of suggestions for when collective bargaining talks begin before the current CPA agreement expires on December 1, 2026.

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Clark also spoke to reporters about the possibility of MLB players participating in the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, a possibility that has begun to gain momentum as MLB suggested they would consider the possibility. In his comments, Clark echoed Manfred's sentiment by noting that while the possibility of major league teams participating in the Olympics is exciting for players and that there has been “a lot of dialogue” about it, there is still a long way to go before the idea is floated. fact. In addition to determining the logistics of the major leagues' participation with the IOC, both MLB and the MLBPA will need to sign off on players participating in the Games.

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