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After slow offseason last year, MLB union head hints work stoppage possible

Fireworks are displayed before the MLB Home Run Derby, at Nationals Park, Monday, July 16, 2018 in Washington. The 89th MLB baseball All-Star Game will be played Tuesday. | Susan Walsh/Associated Press

Players consider teams’ reluctance to sign free agents last offseason “a direct attack” on their rights, according to union head Tony Clark. He hinted that the sport’s quarter-century of labor peace could end if concerns are not addressed.

More than 100 free agents remained unsigned when spring training began. Many signed at a fraction of the price they thought they were worth and many received shorter deals than they expected.

Baseball had eight work stoppages from 1966-95 but has had labor peace since. The current labor contract runs through the 2021 season.

Asked whether he thought there could be a work stoppage at the end of the deal if players’ concerns are not addressed, Clark says that, “to the extent there are challenges to those rights, historically I would suggest those have manifested themselves in a particular way.”