NEW YORK (AP) — Players’ union head Tony Clark criticized baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred for blaming players’ demands for the slow free agent market and said an increasing number of teams are making little effort to “justify the price of a ticket.”
Top free agents Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel remain unsigned with spring training underway.
Manfred said Sunday that “markets change” and “people think about players differently. They analyze players differently.”
Management has proposed changes to playing rules that include a pitch clock. The union responded with a wider list of proposals that include economic initiatives such as expanding the designated hitter to the National League and altering the amateur draft to make rebuilding less appealing.
Clark said in a statement Monday, “We believe these substantive changes are imperative now — not in 2022 or 2025, but in 2019.”
He accused Manfred of “attempts to shift blame and distract from the main issues” and called the commissioner’s comments “unconstructive and misleading at best.”