Rays' Sternberg: 'Opportunity was missed' in MLB labor deal
That the Rays' Stuart Sternberg cast the reported lone dissenting vote as MLB owners ratified their new labor agreement 29-1 late Tuesday was eye-catching but not really a surprise.
The Rays were not happy with the deal when it was struck last month, and Sternberg obviously felt strongly enough to make the symbolic statement during the conference call session when his 29 other colleagues voted yes.
Though declining to comment on his vote, Sternberg this morning shared his feelings on the new five-year deal with the Tampa Bay Times:
"I am thankful for the hard work, leadership, and spirit of compromise that were essential to this agreement coming together. However, twice a decade, the bargaining process provides an opportunity to address the extraordinary and widening competitive gap that exists on-field between higher and lower revenue clubs. I feel that opportunity was missed here.''
While the new deal provided some assistance in the form of small adjustments to the luxury tax, free agent compensation and international signing systems, the Rays wanted more, specifically significant changes to the draft system that would give them more and/or higher picks with an order determined by more than win-loss record.
"Lower revenue clubs face a lot of obstacles, especially when it comes to talent acquisition,'' baseball operations president Matt Silverman said last month. "We can't go out and spend like other clubs so we need to find other avenues to be able to acquire that talent. We've looked for additional access on the amateur side, on the international side, and there haven't been any major changes in the last 10 years, and in fact the revenue disparity between clubs has grown by an immense amount.''
In announcing ratification of the deal this morning, commissioner Rob Manfred said:
"This agreement allows us to build on the positive momentum from last season and promote a generation of young players who represent the National Pastime extraordinarily well. We are looking forward to the many opportunities ahead to continue the game's growth."