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MLB has CBA, international play in sight

Chief legal officer gathers input from execs at GM Meetings

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Dan Halem, Major League Baseball's chief legal officer, came to the annual General Managers Meetings to canvass the executives ahead of the upcoming negotiations over a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

During a media session at the Boca Raton Resort & Club on Wednesday, however, he also mentioned Commissioner Rob Manfred's aggressive goals for international play.

"I think Rob has said publicly that Mexico is a priority of ours, in terms of further developing it as a baseball market," Halem said. "Europe is also a priority although nothing has been planned yet, but I think it's the Commissioner's goal to hope to be able to play regular-season games in both Mexico and Europe, certainly over the next five years. 

"Expanding internationally, I think the view is the more you play in these countries on a continual basis, rather than going to a country one year and then waiting five years to return, is better in terms of developing baseball."

Any such trips would have to be approved by the Major League Baseball Players Association.

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The primary reason for Halem's attendance at the Meetings was to use the opportunity of having all the general managers together to help prepare for the next round of bargaining. Talks are expected to begin next spring. The current CBA expires on Dec. 1, 2016.

"We had some breakout sessions both [Tuesday and Wednesday] covering the variety of topics that we need to cover to prepare," Halem said. "Just like the union. If you ask [MLBPA executive director] Tony Clark, he goes to all his members and gets their views on how well the CBA worked, different things that came up during the term of the CBA that they want fixed. We have to do the same.

"I view our role as negotiators is to [reach] an agreement that addresses the needs of the owners. General managers, at least on the baseball side of things, certainly have the most experience, and in some cases the most interest, in many of the provisions. We use this as an opportunity to meet with them, discuss with them, get their views, see where we have consensus and see where we don't. We really need to take everybody's temperature and we don't have a great forum to do that, to get everybody together, but for these Meetings. So we really view it as an opportunity to prepare."

Paul Hagen is a national reporter for