Casey Close, who represents the likes of Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard is leaving CAA Sports when his 5-year contract expires, according to Liz Mullen of the SportsBusiness Daily.
According to the SBD, “Sources said CAA and Close are trying to work out the details of his departure, which may involve CAA and Close sharing the representation of some of the clients going forward, including Jeter. Close was one of the first sports agents that Hollywood talent firm CAA hired when it launched its sports division in April ‘06, and sources said he had a five-year deal with the agency.”
The agency now sees Nez Balelo, Brodie Van Wagenen, Jeff Berry, Joe Urbon and Greg Landry as the main agents in the baseball sphere.
Close’s work on getting Jeter’s current 3-year, $51 million contract, along with Howard having set the bar for the highest amount awarded a first time salary arbitration eligible player ($10 million), are key parts of the resume that Close has built up with CAA Baseball.
The question is, will Close’s clients leave with him, or will they stay with CAA. If history is any barometer, it’s more likely that the players will go with the agent after gaining a comfort level with him.
In the larger scope of player agencies, there has been a shift recently where agents are leaving larger companies and striking out on their own.
There’s nothing to say that Close won’t be scooped up by another agency, such as the Beverly Hills Sports Council, but it’s possible that he might choose to go it alone.
Whether it has been the powerhouse that Scott Boras has built, or the ability of Dan Lozano to stand on his own after leaving the BHSC and taking the likes of Albert Pujols with him, key player agents are leaving large firms and moving to new pastures.
And while Close is the latest, another name to focus on is Arn Tellem of WMG Management. Contract details are not known for Tellem, but it’s possible that he could be the next big baseball player representative that could go free agent.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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