Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Major League Baseball Players Association issued a statement on Tuesday ripping teams for their supposed concerted effort to drive down the price of free agents, and the league returned fire shortly thereafter.

After MLBPA executive director Tony Clark accused MLB teams of engaging in a “race to the bottom,” the league responded that clubs are only concerned with winning and should not be blamed for agents who are advising their clients to hold out for contracts that are above market value.

A lot of factors have led to players like Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta and J.D. Martinez remaining unsigned with pitchers and catchers set to report to spring training next week. One of the biggest is that teams don’t want to spend above the $197 million luxury tax, and many feel that number should have been higher to avoid situations like this. There’s also the fact that next year’s free agent class is expected to include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Clayton Kershaw, so you can understand why teams with deep pockets would prefer to save their money for those players.

Players have threatened to take some drastic measures to send a message to teams, but that seems unlikely to happen.

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This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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