The Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) has sought to deny talk of a possible spring training boycott, saying that it has not made such a threat.
Spring training will begin later this month, and many of baseball’s top free agents remain unsigned. That has prompted some to issue accusations of collusion on the part team owners, and suggestions even surfaced that a group of players could wage a boycott of spring training. However, the MLBPA issued a statement on Sunday that sought to dispel any notion that it was advocating for a boycott.
In the brief statement, the MLBPA said that “No such has threat has been made, nor has the union recommended such a course of action.” More from USA Today:
A tense winter between labor and management picked up steam Friday when prominent agent Brodie Van Wagenen implicitly accused owners of collusion to suppress the market and suggested that an angry and motivated group of players might boycott spring training to send a message.
Such a boycott would likely run afoul of national labor laws. The MLBPA and MLB agreed to the most recent collective bargaining agreement in December 2016 and it runs through the 2021 season.
— #MLBPA (@MLB_PLAYERS) February 4, 2018
As spring training approaches, the slow free agent market is just one of the storylines that is playing out. Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are also reportedly working to iron out differences concerning possible pace of play initiatives that would take effect for the 2018 season, with MLB issuing its latest proposal last week.