Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) executive director Tony Clark is apparently not pleased with the way recent free-agent negotiations transpired between the Baltimore Orioles and outfielder Dexter Fowler and pitcher Yovani Gallardo.
The union chief tours major league training camps annually to brief players on union business and give them the chance to share their labor-related concerns. During a media session on Saturday, it is Clark who expressed his own concerns about the recent strange saga of Fowler and Gallardo.
Gallardo's deal with the Orioles was renegotiated after issues surfaced regarding the wear-and-tear to his throwing shoulder. The MLBPA executive director expressed his concerns with how the hurler's medical information was processed and made public.
"Medical information shouldn't be public. There's a reason why individuals' medical information is protected," Clark told reporters on Saturday at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida. "The idea that those who shouldn't have access to it have access to it and feel compelled to offer it is a concern... From my vantage point, it is irresponsible and something that we think affects the entire industry and not just the player involved."
He also expressed concern about the way the Dexter Fowler situation was handled by the press and seemed to support agent Casey Close's statement slamming reporters and the Orioles for premature reports that the outfielder had signed to a three-year contract with the team.
"I think it is disappointing that we live in a world where it is more important to be first than it is to be right, and it's a very dangerous place to exist when information makes its way out that may not be 100-percent accurate," Clark explained.
In other Orioles-related updates, it looks like Rule 5 draft pick Joey Rickard may have a chance to make it to the team's opening day roster. While Baltimore have had some success in keeping their Rule 5 draft picks over the past seasons, this year's selection enters spring training as a long shot to make the 25-man roster once the camp is done.
However, the 24-year-old had just enjoyed a breakthrough year that saw him jump all the way to Triple-A and Orioles manager Buck Showalter has some nice words to say about Rickard. "I kind of like how he started coming along in the last year in and a half or whatever. If you look at where he was and all of a sudden where he's kind of going, you're intrigued by whether you're catching him at the right time. He's a real athletic guy, real engaged. He's been impressive. I'm glad we took him," Showalter said on Saturday.
The Orioles selected Rickard from the Tampa Bay Rays in the Rule 5 draft in December after the minor leaguer was left unprotected. Since he is a Rule 5 pick, the team must keep him on the active major league roster for at least 90 days, not including DL stints. Otherwise, Rickard must clear waivers and the Orioles will have to offer him back to the Rays.