Labor situation could affect trades, signings

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — With baseball’s collective bargaining agreement set to expire Dec. 1, trade talk and free-agent signings could go slowly this offseason.

Major league general managers gathered Monday for the start of their annual meeting, in the shadow of Camelback Moun­tain, with guitar music playing over speakers and the smell of mesquite in the hotel courtyard.

There is an extra level of uncertainty.

“We don’t know what rules we’re playing yet under,” Boston Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Monday. “Knowing some of that’s important, because I don’t really know what we’re dealing with, and you wouldn’t want something thrust upon you that surprised you — that there were penalties attached that you may not like or you may like.”

Negotiators for owners and players have been meeting since spring training, and talks were set to continue this week in Arizona, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Asso­ciated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no public statements were authorized.

The sides have not reached agreement on many of the contentious issues, including management’s desire for a draft of international amateur players, the threshold where the luxury tax will start next year or whether there will be changes to the draft-pick compensation system for premier free agents. Baseball has not had a work stoppage since 1994-95, and Commissioner Rob Manfred expresses confidence there will be an agreement by December.

“There’s certainly uncertainty until they do,” agent Scott Boras said. “I’m sure they’re going to want to know the impact of it. Why wouldn’t you?”

With teams operating under the rules of the old agreement, Toronto sluggers Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, and New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and second baseman Neil Walker were among 10 free agents to receive $17.2 million qualifying offers Monday.

Chicago Cubs outfielder Dex­ter Fowler, and Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen and third baseman Justin Turner also received the offers, as did major league home run leader Mark Trumbo of Baltimore. Texas outfielder Ian Desmond and Phila­delphia pitcher Jeremy Hellickson got qualifying offers, too.

Players have until next Monday to accept. For free agents who decline and sign elsewhere, their new team loses a high selection in next June’s amateur draft and their old club gets an extra pick after the first round. Only players who spent the entire season with one team are eligible for qualifying offers.

“The one aspect of the collective bargaining agreement that may not be resolved any time soon is this question of draft-choice compensation, which is probably what could change the market one way or the other,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said. “I don’t think the new rules are going to get more onerous to the players, and it’s not clear whether they’ll be less onerous for clubs.”

AWARD FINALISTS RELEASED

NEW YORK (AP) — Fresh off leading the Chicago Cubs to their first World Series title in more than a century, slugger Kris Bryant and several teammates could soon be hoisting more hardware.

Bryant is among the top three vote-getters for the NL MVP award, with manager Joe Maddon and pitchers Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks in contention for other honors.

The Baseball Writers’ Association of America announced the finalists Monday. Voting was completed before the postseason, and the awards will be presented next week on MLB Network.

A season after he was the NL Rookie of the Year, Bryant hit 39 home runs with 102 RBIs while batting .292. The third baseman also scored a league-high 121 runs.

Washington second baseman Daniel Murphy, who batted .347 for the NL East champions, and Dodgers rookie shortstop Corey Seager also are up for NL MVP.

AL batting champion Jose Altuve of Houston, 2014 winner Mike Trout of the Angels and Boston outfielder Mookie Betts are the AL finalists. The MVPs will be announced Nov. 17.

The AL Cy Young Award is between Cleveland ace Corey Kluber, Boston’s Rick Porcello and Detroit’s Justin Verlander. In the NL, it’s Lester, Hendricks or Washington’s Max Scherzer on Nov. 16.

Detroit’s Michael Fulmer, the Yankees’ Gary Sanchez and Cleveland’s Tyler Naquin are finalists for AL Rookie of the Year. Seager, Dodgers teammate Kenta Maeda and Washington’s Trea Turner are the NL contenders, with the top rookies announced next Monday.

Maddon, Washington’s Dusty Baker and Dave Roberts of the Dodgers are up for NL Manager of the Year. Cleveland’s Terry Francona, who guided his team into the World Series, Texas’ Jeff Banister and Baltimore’s Buck Showalter are the AL candidates. Those honors will be awarded Nov. 15.

The Cubs led the majors with 103 wins during the regular season.

Last year, Chicago won three major awards after reaching the NL Championship Series. In addition to Bryant earning rookie honors, Maddon was the NL Manager of the Year and pitcher Jake Arrieta took home the NL Cy Young Award.

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