Pitchers and catchers report next week and, at present, there are close to 100 free agents with nowhere to train. The market is making it hard enough for the players to find work, but if they’re seen as falling behind, conditioning and training wise, it may be even harder for them to get signed once spring training begins.
To that end, Tim Brown of Yahoo reports that the MLB Players Association is going to hold training camps for free agents:
The baseball players’ union is scouting sites and making preliminary arrangements to conduct its own spring training for as many as 100 unsigned free agents, sources said Wednesday . . . The IMG baseball academy in Bradenton, Florida, was believed to be among at least three options. The union also is identifying coaches and other personnel to staff the facility.
The last time something like this happened was in 1995, during the last work stoppage, as unionized players trained in Homestead, Florida as owners began spring training with would-be strikebreakers before resolution of the work stoppage. This time the circumstances are certainly different, but the need for players to train to be ready for the season is the same.
Should be good and awkward.