NEW YORK — Players’ union head Tony Clark says the number of rebuilding teams and unsigned free agents in a historically slow market threatens the sport’s integrity, an assertion immediately rejected by Major League Baseball.

“A record number of talented free agents remain unemployed in an industry where revenues and franchise values are at record highs,” he said in a statement Tuesday, eight days before the first spring training workouts. “Spring training has always been associated with hope for a new season. This year a significant number of teams are engaged in a race to the bottom. This conduct is a fundamental breach of the trust between a team and its fans and threatens the very integrity of our game.”

Just 53 of 166 players who exercised their free agency rights last November had announced agreements entering Tuesday, down from 99 of 158 at a similar time last year. J.D. Martinez, Jake Arrieta, Yu Darvish, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas are among the players still looking for a place to play.

“The excitement around spring training and the hope that it brings, which has always been the case, seems to be clouded now with a question of what is happening and why,” Clark said.

MLB attributed the amount of unsigned players to a misreading of the marketplace.

“Our clubs are committed to putting a winning product on the field for their fans. Owners own teams for one reason: They want to win. In baseball, it has always been true that clubs go through cyclical, multiyear strategies directed at winning,” the commissioner’s office said in a statement.


METS: Free agent third baseman Todd Frazier and the Mets had agreed on a two-year contract for $17 million, pending a physical.

Giants: No player has worn No. 25 since Barry Bonds last wore the jersey in 2007. On Tuesday morning, the Giants announced that no other player ever will.

The franchise announced that Bonds’ jersey will be retired on August 11 when the team hosts the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Orioles: Baltimore avoided arbitration with second baseman Jonathan Schoop, agreeing to a contract for 2018 worth $8.5 million, an source confirmed Tuesday.

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