When you're the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, it's a good idea to have regular conversations with the best player in baseball.
Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout told reporters Monday he talks with Tony Clark "probably once a day" as the players' union prepares for the expiration of the current collective bargaining agreement.
"I'm just learning new stuff about it, and when stuff comes up about it, that he asks me, I answer it," Trout said of his discussions with Clark. "Hopefully it gets resolved, and everything coming up, because Major League Baseball is a great thing for our country, especially now during the pandemic. And we need it to go forward."
Earlier this month, the MLBPA turned down a proposal by MLB to delay the start of the 2021 season.
While players would have received their full salaries for a 154-game schedule, ESPN's Jeff Passan reported there were concerns as to the authority that commissioner Rob Manfred would have to cancel games for COVID-19-related reasons.
Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports also reported some within the MLBPA were against expanding the playoffs from 10 to 14 teams since it would put less emphasis on the regular season. That, in turn, might alter how much teams are willing to spend on player salaries.
This came after Manfred acted unilaterally to set up a 60-game season in 2020 when MLB and the MLBPA couldn't come to an agreement on the terms of the shortened campaign. Some questioned whether the league acted in good faith during negotiations.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted the financial climate around MLB, hammering out a new CBA was bound to be a contentious affair. Veteran players are getting squeezed in free agency, and comments from now-former Seattle Mariners president Kevin Mather regarding star prospect Jarred Kelenic underscored the wider issue of service-time manipulation.
Trout isn't a typical superstar in that he doesn't have much of a profile away from the field, and he may not be impacted too much by the new CBA compared to his peers since he already signed a 12-year, $426.5 million extension through 2030.
Still, Trout is already an eight-time All-Star and three-time MVP. That will ensure he has a loud voice if he feels the need to weigh in during the negotiating period.