Baseball offseason movement could go slowly – Toledo Blade

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — With baseball’s collective bargaining agreement set to expire Dec. 1, trade talk and free-agent signings could go slowly this offseason.

Major league general managers gathered Monday for the start of their annual meeting, in the shadow of Camelback Mountain, with guitar music playing over speakers and the smell of mesquite in the hotel courtyard.

There is some uncertainty.

“We don’t know what rules we’re playing yet under,” Boston Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said. “Knowing some of that’s important, because I don’t really know what we’re dealing with, and you wouldn’t want something thrust upon you that surprised you — that there were penalties attached that you may not like or you may like.”

Negotiators for owners and players have been meeting since spring training, and talks were set to continue this week in Arizona, a person familiar with the negotiations said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no public statements were authorized.

The sides have not reached agreement on many of the contentious issues, including management’s desire for a draft of international amateur players, the threshold where the luxury tax will start next year or whether there will be changes to the draft-pick compensation system for premier free agents. Baseball has not had a work stoppage since 1994-95, and commissioner Rob Manfred expresses confidence there will be an agreement by December.

With teams operating under the rules of the old agreement, Toronto sluggers Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, and New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and second baseman Neil Walker were among 10 free agents to receive $17.2 million qualifying offers.

Chicago Cubs outfielder Dexter Fowler, and Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen and third baseman Justin Turner also received the offers, as did major league home run leader Mark Trumbo of Baltimore. Texas outfielder Ian Desmond and Philadelphia pitcher Jeremy Hellickson got qualifying offers, too. 

Cleveland did not extend an offer to first baseman Mike Napoli or outfielders Coco Crisp and Rajai Davis, but Indians president Chris Antonetti said the team has strong interest in re-signing Napoli and Davis. The Indians would have had exclusive negotiating rights with them, but now they can talk with other teams.

Players have until next Monday to accept. Approximately 160 major league free agents can start discussing money terms with all teams today. 


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