MLB Players Sports Agents

Some MLB Agents Are Having Concerns Over The Next CBA

It has certainly been an exciting week for the MLB, as the playoffs are underway the ALCS set and an elimination game to see which team will play the Cubs in the NLCS. The remaining teams guarantee that this year’s World Series winner will be an organization that has not won the title in seemingly forever, or in the case of the Nationals – ever. What is being brushed under the rug, likely until the day the World Series ends, is the impending expiration of the CBA on December 1.

Ken Rosenthal wrote an article for about the expiring CBA. He mentions that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred was optimistic about the signing of a new CBA in “relatively short order.” Agents, on the other hand, spoke to Rosenthal on the condition of anonymity and mentioned their level of concern about some troubling free agency trends and the huge amount of money that is going to unproven international players rather than established major leaguers and domestic amateurs.

Although agents do not negotiate on behalf of the players in terms of collective bargaining (that is the responsibility of the MLBPA), there have been grumblings of different opinions between the two parties. One major point of contention surrounds the penalties regarding minimum spending and losing draft picks, etc. The agents interviewed for this article highlight different options that they believe could be effective bargaining points for the new CBA.

An agency conducted a study of the 2016 Article XX(B) free agents – players who qualify for free agency by attaining six or more years of major-league service. For the findings of the study, view the article here. The study also noted that the overall median salary of MLB players decreased from $1.65 to $1.5 million, which was reported by The Associated Press. Although this is still a significant amount of money for everyday people, the effect on other player contracts is felt throughout the industry.

Earlier this year, one of our guest contributors , Noah Goodman, an attorney at Ballard Spahr LLP in Philadelphia and a recent graduate of Temple University Beasley School of Law, wrote an article titled Is The MLB Labor Market Fair? In this article he discussed  how the current CBA creates an incentive structure for owners to avoid spending money on free agents.

Goodman has continued his research on this topic wrote his law review article on the evolution and decline of free agency in Major League Baseball. That article was published in the Sports Lawyers Journal last spring. In the article, he argued that the current CBA is serving as a restraint on trade because owners have a disencentive to invest in free agents on the open market. The rationale is that players reach free agency too late in their careers and owners and front office executives have adjusted by reallocating their resources elsewhere (i.e., signing younger players to long-term extensions and signing international free agents). He also presented this article at the 28th Annual Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture.