Clark examining compensation issue for free agents

Clark examining compensation issue for free agents

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- With shortstop Stephen Drew just one of the many veteran players who remain on the free-agent market, Tony Clark, the executive director of the Major League Players Association, realizes that the compensation issue is one that needs to be reviewed.

Clark and several other members of the union met with the Red Sox on Saturday morning in their tour that will include all 30 teams during Spring Training.

The Red Sox made Drew a qualifying offer back in November. Had he accepted, the shortstop would have returned to the team he won the World Series with for a salary of $14.1 million.

Once Drew turned it down, it meant that any team that signs him would have to give the Red Sox a Draft pick as compensation.

While surrendering Draft picks for superstar free agents is never much of an obstacle, it can become a serious holdup for solid players like Drew.

"It's a concern. The way the free-agent market has played itself out over the last couple of years suggests that Draft pick compensation in the free-agent market in general is a concern that we're paying attention to," said Clark. "Obviously we still have guys -- very, very good players, quality players -- that can help a number of clubs who are still on the market; some with Draft pick compensation, some not. So it's something that we're paying attention to. It's something that we're concerned about. And it's something that I'm sure will be a topic of discussion here going forward."

The rules probably can't be changed until the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires in 2016.

"There are certain criteria that's going to have to be met for the CBA to be opened up. I'm not sure that's happened," said Clark. "So it may be something where between now and 2016 we can continue to have discussions. I don't think it's in anyone's best interests, what's happening right now -- clubs or the players. But if it's something that has to be addressed come 2016, then we'll address it then."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.