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The Biz of Baseball :: Business of Sports Network
Alex Rodriguez's New Agent Reflects Changing Role of Player Representation PDF Print E-mail
Joe Tetreault Article Archive
Written by Joe Tetreault   
Thursday, 02 September 2010 16:55

Scott Boras, you're fired! No, not really.

Bob Nightengale broke the story that Alex Rodriguez has shifted agent responsibilities from Scott Boras to Pittsburgh sports attorney Jay Resinger and Washington attorney Jim Sharp. The decision reflects both Rodriguez' comfort with the work that Resigner and Sharp have done as the superstar's legal representation needs have shifted from contracts to the more complex world of dealing with the federal government as part of their on-going investigations into the use of performance enhancing drugs in baseball. In addition, Rodriguez sought Resinger's advice as he admitted his past use of PEDs.

With the two most lucrative contracts in the history of professional baseball bearing his name, Rodriguez is unlikely to ever need another contract negotiated for his services as a baseball player, reducing the utility that Scott Boras would provide. As one of the creditors in the recent Texas Rangers bankruptcy proceedings, Rodriguez has far more diverse requirements in his representation. By transitioning to someone who has been approved by the MLBPA and who can more expertly navigate these potential minefields Rodriguez is ensuring that he has the best possible advocate for the job at hand.

As baseball players find themselves contending with legal hassles that fall outside the bounds of traditional agent representation, they will invariably follow this pattern. As we see with the Roger Clemens indictment, Clemens is relying on his personal attorney rather than his agents, Randy and Alan Hendricks. It may have benefited Clemens had he retained a specialist like Resinger to handle the hearings that have now mired him in a much higher stakes legal battle.

Players such as Curt Schilling eschewed representation when negotiating their final contracts, because they were more cognizant of their goals in negotiations. That same spirit informs Rodriguez's choice.  As the environment grows more complex, players will invariable follw Rodriguez' lead and find specialists who better understand their unique legal concerns.  The day of the super agent is not dead.  It will never be dead. But the potential for greater competition and more specialization in the marketplace will benefit players greatly.


Joe TetreaultJoe Tetreault is Managing Editor 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. He can be contacted here through The Biz of Baseball

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Tax the Poor: An NBA Solution to Baseball’s Financial Disparity PDF Print E-mail
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Kyle Lamb Article Archive
Written by Kyle Lamb   
Wednesday, 15 September 2010 23:44

A Biz of Baseball Original ArticlePlease welcome this first article by Kyle Lamb, the latest author for the Business of Sports Network. -- Maury Brown

A few weeks ago, several financial statements were leaked, causing shock and awe reverberations through the baseball community. Though the home front is all quiet in preparation for that National Pastime’s postseason, the winds of change are soon to pick up steam.

After the season, the MLB Player’s Association and Major League Baseball are due for earnest preliminary discussions for the next collective bargaining agreement. The Deadspin Scrolls, as I’ll call them, left some ownership seething over the (self) reported lack of spending by their colleagues. I can only imagine how the Player’s Association will respond.

As a refresher course, Deadspin leaked financial statements and balance sheets for six different Major League clubs. The gist of the documents suggested that some of these clubs were gratuitous recipients of Major League Baseball revenue sharing, but not necessarily aggressive spenders of those funds. Since Major League ownership is not privy to other clubs’ financials, owners were left staring at these documents in disbelief with the rest of us.

The affects of these leaks are not completely known and won’t be for some time. But rest assured hopeless romantics of a Major League salary cap were dealt yet another blow in the name of fruitless passion. Love hath no fury like revenue payors scorned.

The shock has worn temporarily. But it’s likely we’re merely inside the eye wall of “Hurricane Labor”, and the retribution for these documents will unleash the fury of a much stronger storm on the other side of the wall. The basic agreement expires following the 2011 season meaning the next 6-8 months are vital in the bargaining process.

I used to be in the camp that firmly believed a salary cap was key to the long term success of baseball. I’ve gradually come off those concerns. Instead, I actually support the implementation of a minimum salary tax. Make no mistake, I believe a tax threshold needs to be implemented on violators of both the high end (looking right at you, Yankees) and low end. However, the cries for a salary cap are likely to dwindle in the coming years, so it’s time to concentrate on the issues that are easier to get corrected.

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Remaining Amazin': Reyes could be a Met for a while PDF Print E-mail
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Lance Gurewitz Article Archive
Written by Lance Gurewitz   
Thursday, 21 July 2011 08:26

Jose Reyes’ stock has certainly taken a wild ride over the last three seasons. After spending the 2006-2008 seasons battling Hanley Ramirez and Jimmy Rollins for “top shortstop” honors and playoff spots, Reyes missed nearly all of 2009 and failed to recapture the spotlight in 2010. A respectable season for a predictably mediocre Mets team likely would have made him trade bait. However, Reyes has complicated the situation by absolutely dominating this season, posting 5.3 WAR to date, good for third in Major League Baseball. At the heart of the problem lies Reyes’ imminent free agency. Receiving insufficient compensation for Reyes’ departure would constitute a significant setback for the Mets. By one school of thought, the Mets need to keep Reyes as the centerpiece of their rebuilding effort around whom fans can rally. By another, this threat is only greater incentive to trade Reyes and restock the farm system. However, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported on Wednesday that the Mets are certain they will not trade Reyes at the July 31st trade deadline. The announcement that Reyes will definitely not be traded suggests that he will remain a Met for several years to come.

The Mets should definitely have enough money to make a competitive offer. Despite the Mets’ financial woes, their payroll commitments for next year do not include Carlos Beltran, Francisco Rodriguez, Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo, or, of course, Jose Reyes, who amounted to $62 million of the Mets’ Opening Day payroll. Some of that decrease will be washed out by arbitration raises, but the Mets should easily have $50-55 million to spend if they so desire. If the Wilpons’ financial troubles do force the team to cut payroll dramatically—say, by $20 million—they will still have $30-35 million to spend, most likely on middle infielders, a right fielder, and pitching help. The Mets will spend that money somewhere, and few free agents fit as naturally as the incumbent star. With Rickie Weeks and Jose Bautista off the market, the Mets’ other positions of need offer little star power. Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder could make some sense, but it would mean that the Mets are giving up on the promising Ike Davis. Among the top free agents, only CC Sabathia, assuming he opts out of his current contract, fits as naturally. Still, given the choice between a relationship-aided negotiation with Reyes and a bidding war against the Yankees for Sabathia, the Mets would likely prefer the former. The impending slack in the Mets’ budget and the shortage of viable alternatives actually make Reyes the most reasonable target for the Mets this winter.

Furthermore, if the Mets are not willing to pay Reyes top dollar, it is inconceivable that the front office does not recognize the opportunity to sell high. Aside from his value to the Mets’ brand, nearly every aspect of Reyes’ season suggests this is the perfect time to trade him. Needless to say, Reyes is having an MVP-caliber season, the best of his career, on a mediocre team. He plays a premium position at which he figures to remain through his prime, which is only beginning. His offensive numbers rely heavily on an insane .375 BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play), which his statistically oriented front office must know will regress. He benefits from phenomenal publicity that rarely mentions that inevitable regression. In short, Reyes is outperforming his already impressive true talent—in theory, an easy recipe for attracting top prospects in a trade. Throw in the fact that the expiring collective bargaining agreement could jeopardize the Mets’ draft pick compensation if Reyes leaves, and there are just too many sensible reasons to trade him rather than let him leave via free agency. Of course, declaring these factors obvious could be overestimating the Mets’ front office, but it seems more likely that they just have no intention of letting Reyes leave.

It is difficult, then, to imagine a scenario where the Mets refuse to trade Reyes but lack confidence that he will stay in Queens. This seems ironic after Fred Wilpon’s recent disparaging remarks, but Reyes has always expressed pride to play for the Mets and evidently has a budding positive relationship with the new front office. Still, there is no getting around the fact that a deadline trade would benefit the Mets more than keeping him for just half a season more. One must wonder, then, about the source of the Mets’ optimism toward re-signing their coveted commodity. It is entirely possible—though purely speculative—that the negotiations are already beginning and that Reyes may not bother to test the open market at all.


Lance Gurewitz is currently a sophmore at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. You can read and discuss his baseball analysis and other sports musings in 140 characters or less by following @LanceWG42 on Twitter

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NESN Announces Partnership With WEEI PDF Print E-mail
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Media News (Television, Radio, Internet)
Written by Joe Tetreault   
Tuesday, 19 October 2010 08:54

NESN, New England’s most watched sports network, and WEEI Sports Radio, New England’s top rated sports radio station, announced today that they have entered into a programming partnership to simulcast The Dennis and Callahan Show on weekday mornings live from 6 am to 9 am. Beginning November 16, 2010, The Dennis and Callahan Show will be available on NESN in New England and across the country on NESN National.

"This programming partnership brings together the two most popular sports media companies in New England in a way that we think complements the strengths of each organization," said Sean McGrail, NESN’s President and CEO. "We have worked closely with WEEI for several years to produce the annual Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon. We now look forward to working with WEEI on a daily basis to bring The Dennis and Callahan Show to our television audience."

"We're excited because this is the next logical step in our progression as a powerful brand, giving us the ability to provide our great content far and wide," said Julie Kahn, Entercom New England’s Vice President, New England Market Manager. "We’ve built an unprecedented regional radio network, we stream our radio content worldwide via the web, we have original web content, mobile streaming…and now we will be available regionally and nationally on TV Nobody in our business offers what we do the way we do…and this NESN partnership impressively expands on that."

NESN will install four remotely controlled HD cameras in WEEI’s studio in Brighton, MA and fiber the feeds back to the NESN HD Television Center in Watertown, MA where NESN will direct the four feeds and add graphics. In addition to the live simulcast every weekday morning, NESN will also replay The Dennis and Callahan Show in primetime on NESN National. A one-hour "Best of Dennis & Callahan" is also planned for late night. The partnership also includes regular appearances by WEEI personalities on NESN’s Red Sox pre-game shows and other sports programs.

"Dennis and Callahan have achieved tremendous success in morning drive on WEEI, and this new partnership with NESN provides the perfect opportunity to expand their footprint across the region. NESN is the ideal partner for us given the incredible power of its reach across New England, and the combination of our two networks will make this new project an instant hit." said Jason Wolfe, Entercom New England’s Vice President of AM Programming.

"This is a natural fit for NESN. Dennis & Callahan is the 'go-to' show in the morning for sports and entertainment," said Joel Feld, NESN Executive Vice President, Programming and Executive Producer. "Passionate hosts, loyal fans and no holds-barred discussion. NESN viewers get that with our Red Sox, Bruins and other sports and lifestyle programming so this is a logical way to enhance how we entertain our audience."

Dennis and Callahan were paired together on WEEI in October of 1997 from 10 am to noon and after immense success, were shifted to morning drive in September of 1999 where they’ve been ever since. The show made an immediate impact in the market and has consistently been the #1 rated morning show in Boston.

The move provides NESN with morning program that is differentiated from the looped morning highlights show that directly competed for viewers with ESPNNEWS. Simulcasts have been employed by other cable networks, notably MSNBC who simulcasted "Imus in the Morning" as a morning show while it was broadcast on WFAN-AM out of New York.  YES has simulcasted WFAN's "Mike and the Mad Dog" program and its successor show "Mike'd Up" in the afternoon drivetime slot.

Source: NESN


Joe TetreaultJoe Tetreault is Managing Editor 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. He can be contacted here through The Biz of Baseball

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Road Back to the Show Part 4: Matt Antonelli a Free Agent, Again PDF Print E-mail
Matthew Coller Articles Archive
Written by Matthew Coller   
Tuesday, 13 September 2011 08:15
Matt A
Matt Antonelli as a Padre

This is Part 4 of a series of articles written by Matthew Coller co-authored with professional baseball player Matt Antonellii about his 2011 baseball season.The series will chronicle Antonelli's journey trying to make it back to Major League Baseball. Read Part 1 here about Antonelli being non-tendered, then signed, Part II here about his time with the Washington Nationals, and Part III about his injury

Two hours before game time, Matt Antonelli sits down in the third row of the empty stands in Rochester's Frontier Field. The bag full of ice on his right hand is dripping all over the place. He's a spectator today after leaving the previous night's game with soreness in his right hand. For the first time in months, he won't be taking batting practice, throwing or playing.

The hand injury isn't serious – not like the one that kept him out for the majority of the last two seasons – it's just a little soreness. He could probably play, but with only a few days left on the Syracuse Chiefs' season and considering his injury history, it's better to take caution. So, today is different. He's been playing baseball or traveling every single day since March. He can relax a little.

Up until now, days off came with anxiety. First, there was the days off in April because of a mild hamstring injury. Then, the days off spent driving hours and hours from Florida to the Washington Nationals' double-A affiliate Harrisburg. Then, after getting called up to triple-A Syracuse, the days off splitting time in the infield trying to show he could play.

Today's day off comes at the end of Antonelli's best season as a professional baseball player. The 26-year-old hit .297 with eight home runs, 19 doubles and a .393 on-base percentage in 86 games for Syracuse. He was a triple-A all-star and, had he had enough at-bats to qualify, would have ranked 13th in OPS – just ahead of Rays' rookie Desmond Jennings and Indians prospect Jason Kipnis and a hair below Reds outfielder Yonder Alonso.

He had gotten so used to failure over the past three years. When he wasn't injured, he hit .215 and .196 in 2008 and 2009 in triple-A Portland. Then, he didn't perform well enough to make triple-A after spring training this season.

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