Baseball union head Tony Clark unhappy with free agent non-signings

NEW YORK (AP) — Players’ union head Tony Clark took the extraordinary step of saying baseball fans should question whether it makes sense to purchase tickets for some teams, responding to Commissioner Rob Manfred’s assertion that free-agent players have failed to adjust their economic demands in a market upended by analytics.

Top free agents Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel remain unsigned with spring training under way, creating tension during negotiations on management’s proposals for a pitch clock and new limitations on relief pitchers.

The union responded with a wider list of plans that include economic initiatives such as expanding the designated hitter to the National League and altering the amateur draft to make rebuilding less appealing.

“Markets change,” Manfred said Sunday. “We’ve had a lot of change in the game. People think about players differently. They analyze players differently. They negotiate differently.”

Clark led negotiations in 2016 for a five-year labor deal.