Baseball players’ association to decide on proposed free agency changes on Monday

September 28, 2018

SEOUL, Sept. 28 (Yonhap) — The interest group representing the country’s professional baseball players said Friday it will decide next week whether to accept proposed changes to free agency.

The Korea Professional Baseball Players Association (KPBPA) said it will hold a press conference Monday afternoon, after reviewing proposals made by the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO).

This undated file image provided by the Korea Professional Baseball Players Association (KPBPA) shows the association's logo. (Yonhap)

This undated file image provided by the Korea Professional Baseball Players Association (KPBPA) shows the association’s logo. (Yonhap)

The KBO recently proposed putting a cap on the length and the value of free agent contracts — four years at a maximum of 8 billion won (US$7.2 million) total — and also shortening the length of service required before a player can become a free agent.

Presently, there are no limits to the length or value of contracts that teams can sign their free agents to, and recent offseasons have produced massive deals worth more than 10 billion won in total value. In terms of service time, high school graduates must play nine full seasons to be eligible for free agency, while players who join the KBO after college must play eight full seasons before they can enter the open market.

The KBO is also seeking to divide free agents into three different classes based on their salaries over the five most recent seasons.

The cap on free agent deals could be a sticking point between the league and the players’ association. Teams have been complaining that the open market has gone out of control and has put too much strain on their finances. But from the players’ perspective, pending free agents would like to cash in after watching a dozen of their fellow pros ink multi-year deals worth more than 8 billion won during recent offseasons.

“We’ll look into problems with the current system and study KBO’s proposals closely,” said Kim Sun-woong, secretary general of the KPBPA. “We’ll seek to create a system that will benefit players and clubs alike.”