The Tampa Bay Times reports that the Major League Baseball Players Association filed a grievance against the Oakland A’s, Miami Marlins, Pittsburgh Pirates and Tampa Bay Rays claiming they have failed to comply with rules of how they spend their revenue sharing money.
Clubs are obligated, pursuant to Article XXIV(B)(5)(a) of the Basic Agreement, to spend revenue sharing money “to improve its performance on the field.” That money can be spent on either major league payroll or player development. The grievance alleges that these four clubs failed to do that.
The Marlins, Pirates and Athletics either actively slashed payroll this past offseason by dealing away players or were relieved of payroll obligations by players departing via free agency or who were non-tendered while not replacing them with comparably paid players. The Rays have recently made a number of moves to get rid of players who were arbitration eligible and who received raises this past offseason. All clubs have received tens of millions in revenue sharing money.
Major League Baseball can impose penalties onto clubs that do not appropriately reallocate their revenue sharing profits for competitive purposes. The Marlins have been in this situation before. Back in 2010 the union lodged a similar complaint and Major League Baseball acted, resulting in the Marlins increasing payroll, at least for a time. A similar complaint was lodged against the Marlins in 2013, but no grievance was filed and nothing came of it. Unlike those previous occasions, it seems like Major League Baseball is going to strongly defend the clubs, telling the Times that “we believe it has no merit.”
If no resolution is reached, the matter will eventually go before an arbitrator.
Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark met the press late this morning and covered a wide array of topics.
One of them: free agency, which he referred to as being “under attack” based on the slow market for free agents last offseason.
“What the players saw last offseason was that their free-agent rights were under attack on what has been the bedrock of our system,” Clark said. He added that they “have some very difficult decisions to make.” Presumably in the form of grievances and, down the road, a negotiating strategy that seeks to claw back some of the many concessions the union has given owners in the past few Collective Bargaining Agreements. CBAs, it’s worth noting, that Clark negotiated. We’ve covered that territory in detail in the past.
Of more immediate interest was Clark’s comment that the idea of a universal designated hitter is, among players, “gaining momentum.” Clark says “players are talking about it more than they have in the past.” We’ve talked a lot about that as well.
Given that hating or loving the DH is the closest thing baseball has to a religion, no one’s mind is going to be changed by any of this, but I think, practically speaking, it’s inevitable that the National League will have the DH and I think it happens relatively soon. Perhaps in the next five years. The opposition to it at this point is solely subjective and based on tradition. People like pitchers batting and they like double switches and they like the leagues being different because they, well, like it. If the system were being set up today, however, they’d never have it this way and I think even the DH-haters know that well. That doesn’t mean that you can’t dislike a universal DH, but it does mean that you can’t expect the people who run the game to cater to that preference when it makes little sense for them to do it for their own purposes.
Anyway, enjoy convincing each other in the comments about how the side of that argument you dislike is wrong.