It is no surprise when agent Scott Boras, who is comfortable speaking publicly and provocatively, criticizes owners for their lack of spending. It is astonishing when Van Wagenen, co-head of an agency that seldom says a word publicly, issues a blistering statement.
And it might be no coincidence that the union is advertising for a director of external affairs, a position that the ad says would "play a key strategic role in growing and protecting the reputation of the organization" and would "be responsible for the organization's overall messaging and communication strategy."
Clark, who has declined to make any conclusions about the market in his few public comments this winter, issued a statement later Friday, after the statements of Van Wagenen and another agent, Joshua Kusnick.
"For decades free agency has been the cornerstone of baseball's economic system and has benefited players and the game alike," Clark said in his statement. "Each time it has been attacked, players, their representatives and the (Major League Baseball Players) Association have united to defend it. That will never change."
A column in the Los Angeles Times on Thursday focused on whether the increasing number of teams playing not to win -- even as a strategy to win in future years -- might pose a problem for the 30-team league. Attendance has declined in each of the last three seasons, down to its lowest level since 2002.
"That is why attendance is down," one prominent agent texted in response to the column. "There are only 18 teams in the league."
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