Contrary to some reports, a boycott of spring training is not in the offing. The MLBPA made that point abundantly clear in a statement sent out on Sunday.
— MLBPA (@MLB_PLAYERS) February 4, 2018
The 2017-18 offseason has been uncharacteristically slow, causing some unrest with the players. Many of the offseason’s top free agents remain unsigned. On Friday, MLB agent Brodie Van Wagenen tweeted a message with a not so subtle reference to a work stoppage.
“There is a rising tide among players for radical change,” Van Wagenen said. “A fight is brewing. And it may begin with one, maybe two, and perhaps 1,200 willing to follow. A boycott of Spring Training may be a starting point, if behavior doesn’t change.”
ESPN’s Buster Olney also tweeted on Friday that it had been discussed.
Sources: Players briefly discussed the possibility of boycotting the first days of spring training in a conference call last week, among many other ideas. But baseball industry sources indicate it is not currently an option under any serious consideration.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) February 4, 2018
While the decade has seen work stoppages in NFL, NBA, and NHL, Major League Baseball has had relative labor peace for more than 20 years. Since the embarrassing 1994-95 strike, which resulted in the 1994 World Series getting cancelled, MLB hasn’t experienced a work stoppage. One nearly came in 2002, but a late agreement kept that from happening.
Pitchers and catchers are set to report for spring training between February 14-16.