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OC Register: Angels players ‘engaged’ in meeting with union head after frustrating winter for players


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TEMPE, Ariz. >> The Angels were the first team to get a crack at officially voicing their concerns over a winter of discontent to the head of the Major League Players’ Association.

Tony Clark, head of the MLBPA, began his annual tour of the 30 spring training camps with a visit to the Angels before their workout on Thursday.

Clark characterized the Angels players as “engaged,” after a winter in which there were continued complaints from players around the majors about the slow pace of the free agent market.

“We compete against each other because we want to compete against the best,” Clark said. “Right now we can’t say in the game the best players are on the field.”

Even after Manny Machado agreed to a reported 10-year, $300-million contract, Clark said that “one player signing does not suggest that the system is fine.” There are still dozens of unsigned free agents, most notably Bryce Harper, Dallas Keuchel, Craig Kimbrel and Marwin Gonzalez.

“We’re glad Manny found a home,” Clark said. “We’re curious as to why it took as long as it did. And we’re still concerned about the players that are out there and their phones aren’t ringing.”

Clark also said there’s been a pattern in which players have gotten no calls, then multiple calls from different teams on the same day.

“We find that interesting,” he said.

The slow market has gotten to the point that St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright suggested players might strike this summer. Clark said that’s not possible because they have a contract that runs through 2021, but that Wainwright’s comments “suggest the seriousness of what we’re seeing and the concern that guys have about where the industry is and where it’s going.”

Clark also said they are in ongoing negotiations about on-field rule changes that could be implemented, including a pitch clock.

“There’s a dialogue about a pitch clock but it’s not at the forefront of the conversation because guys wholeheartedly believe that’s not the issue we have,” he said. “The issues that we have go far beyond saving a few seconds in any one night.”

Among the Angels-specific concerns, Clark said the union is keeping a close eye on the conditions for the Angels series in Monterrey, Mexico, in May.

“There are challenges any time you leave your home stadium,” Clark said. “You know one thing is a player you fall into a nice pattern of knowing where you’re supposed to go and when you’re supposed to show up and what the amenities are…. There are challenges that result from stepping out of that norm and changing your workplace environment.”

The Dodgers and Padres played last year in Monterrey, and there are two exhibition games scheduled for that ballpark in March.

NOTES

Rain washed out all of the Angels on-field workouts for Thursday. They had players hit in indoor cages, and pitchers also threw bullpen sessions in the indoor mounds. …

Manager Brad Ausmus said some of the everyday players will be playing when the Cactus League schedule begins on Saturday. Last year the Angels had none of their veterans playing at the start of spring training because the number of days of workouts before the first game had been decreased.

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13 hours ago, Erstad Grit said:

Yeah I just don't agree with this.  Machado got 300. Harper has been offered that from at least 1 team.  Gonzalez signed today.  Dallas is not an ace and trying to get paid like one.  Kimbrel got yanked from closing during the world series.  

The players may think they are worth more than are. Anything (or player) are worth what someone is willing to pay...

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13 minutes ago, floplag said:

i would be very curious to know what the players were enraged at in our clubhouse, and what the source of it was... but of course thats something well never know.  All i see there is the same old quote from Clark which are basically all about the money.

engaged.   not enraged.  

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