OXON HILL, Md. (AP) Agent Scott Boras says baseball's new labor contract will cause Latin American players to turn away from the sport and play soccer.
The deal agreed to last week places limits on bonuses for players who reside outside the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada, restricting teams to signing pools that start at $4.75 million for the year starting next July 2.
Baseball's previous collective bargaining agreement put signing pools on residents of the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada who are subject to the amateur draft each June.
''Why are we as an industry saying that we're going to succumb to the other sports and not pursue best athletes?'' Boras said Wednesday at the winter meetings.
''When we're making $10 billion, should we really build the Berlin Wall to youth? We just cut off the American players and limited them well below the NBA and the NFL, and now we're doing it with the Latin players, as well. We're cutting off our soil. Because now I would imagine FIFA is over in Venezuela, `cause they've coveted South America, and they're building soccer fields as we speak in the Dominican and there because these athletes are going to turn to something that is better for them.''
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred did not respond immediately to a request for comment. Players' association head Tony Clark said ''nothing to add.''
Boras said changes in the new agreement that could lessen revenue sharing for large-market teams should encourage them to maintain high payrolls despite an increase in the rates for exceeding the luxury-tax threshold.
''Under the old CBA, I think the luxury tax was the Center for Disease Control, and now the luxury tax should be Starbucks, because if you want championship coffee, you better be visiting there often,'' he said.