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CLEVELAND — Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark voiced opposition to the draft Tuesday in an address to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Asked if he viewed the draft as “inherently anti-labor,” Clark responded “yes.”
“Limiting and restricting the opportunities of entry, I’ll stand here—and I did at the bargaining table—suggesting that I’d like to remove all of it,” Clark said.
Commissioner Rob Manfred, who followed Clark’s address with his own, said Major League Baseball has not considered removing the draft and that he had not previously heard that stance from Clark.
“Every professional sport has a draft,” Manfred said. “It’s part of the normal economic system that preserves the competitive balance in a sport, number one.
“Number two, given the way clubs think about players, I think that the elimination of that draft would probably exacerbate the issues that you see in the free agent market because I suspect the money probably would move in that direction and there’s only so much money. I don’t know what he’s thinking there, maybe that’s a personal view as opposed to the MLBPA’s view, I don’t know, but we’ve never heard that from him.”
Clark, who played 15 seasons in the majors, was the No. 2 overall draft pick in 1990.
“I understand the dynamic has existed for a long time,” Clark said. “I understand it’s a conversation that we have had and will continue to have. But (the) question was whether it was anti-union. My response to you is limiting the opportunities and options is, and that’s exactly what a draft does.”