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There are no easy answers when it comes to agents

December 21, 2008

Answering a few questions from our site editor, Rob Bradford, regarding the world of agents …

Bradford: When you hear about the kind of negotiations Mark Teixeira is going through, what stands out?

Me: The mass of misinformation everyone works off of. So little of the facts are ever really that. It’s the ultimate form of second-hand information and in many cases you get people making ‘educated’ guesses, figuring if they’re wrong, so what, but if they are right they ‘broke’ the story.

Bradford: How much interaction with Scott Boras have you had, if any? Did you ever contemplate joining forces with him?

Me: Almost none other than going up against him on a talk show in Philly after the JD Drew draft. I’ve thought about it when thinking about next season. Bottom line is if you want to scrap every penny you can from the bottom of the barrel, leave nothing on the table, he’s your guy. That being said I’ve spoken at length with Jason about him, a guy I have a ton of respect for, and Jason considers him a very close friend, so that means something to me.

Bradford: When is important to have an agent?

Me: When you are drafted. When you go to arbitration. The first time you become a free agent. Every time you become a free agent after that if you CANNOT handle the pressure of a negotiation yourself, or if you are not comfortable with any parts of negotiating on your behalf.

Bradford: When should a player contemplate going without an agent?

Me: Depends on the player really. If you are smart enough and pay attention to the market you could consider your first go-around in free agency (though I think I might only recommend that for a college drafted player if at all) but more often than not your second free agent go around would likely be better.

Bradford: What characteristics do players look for when selecting agents?

Me: I hired my second and last agent and went into that process with really only one hard piece of criteria. I told myself I’d interview the 30-plus agents and after the first interviews I’d pare it down and eliminate anyone in the first round that bad mouthed another agent or agency in any way. After 30 some interviews there was only one agency that didn’t do that.

Bradford: How much control does an agent have over the process?

Me: Again that is player dependant. Some agents run the entire process at the players request, others serve as go betweens and advisors. Depends on what you want for your percent.

Keep sending in questions — either on this page, or in the comments section — for a mailbag (coming in the not-so-distant-future).

15 Comments leave one →
  1. Greg Lord permalink
    December 22, 2008 12:15 am

    Curt,

    Thanks for the insight into agents. It is certainly a hot topic this time of year especially with what is going on with the Boras clients and what happened with Rafael Furcal.

    One question for you. In the aftermath of a Furcal situation are players often involved with negociating tactics or most times do the players just give the agents a list of teams and thentry to stay out of the fray and let the agent take the heat for a tough negociation?

    Greg

  2. Tomas permalink
    December 22, 2008 3:34 pm

    Curt,

    When you recieve a term sheet, does it mean both sides have agree’d and the only thing that stands in the way to the player becoming part of that is the physical?

  3. Scott permalink
    December 22, 2008 4:14 pm

    Thanks for explaining Curt!

  4. sdl1 permalink
    December 22, 2008 4:32 pm

    If a player wants to use an agent, that’s his thing.

    Personally, I can’t see the real need for an agent. Is the *agent* going to play for Team X?

  5. Dave permalink
    December 22, 2008 5:25 pm

    Dear Curt,

    Why does anybody care what you have to say?

    Love,
    The World

  6. Zack permalink
    December 22, 2008 5:27 pm

    sdl1- The ‘agent’ is there to protect that player, incase they can’t speak English, or don’t know all the legal terms or anything else.
    It’s just like having a lawyer or tax return agent, they take care of the stuff that we dont want to do or dont know how to do.

  7. December 22, 2008 5:31 pm

    i hate you curt

  8. Jeff Williams permalink
    December 22, 2008 6:13 pm

    -Bottom line is if you want to scrap every penny you can from the bottom of the barrel, leave nothing on the table, he’s your guy. That being said I’ve spoken at length with Jason about him, a guy I have a ton of respect for, and Jason considers him a very close friend, so that means something to me-

    But for Boras’s handling of Tex to bluff his way through the money (to CC Sabathia proportion without the market response) and get caught with owners turning their backs on him is bad for his and his clients reputation here, Mr Schilling! Any agent will always be a close friend as long as his client is under contract, but Jason’s never gone through anything of this proportion.

    Please don’t take me as bad mouthing Boras here, but his marquee client over handling shenanigans is leading to his own demise.

  9. Craig S permalink
    December 22, 2008 6:33 pm

    Mr. Schilling

    As a longtime fan, and coach who appreciates your approach to the game, are there any particular tips or drills you could share with our team? I coach freshman baseball at Fairfield Warde High School in Fairfield CT. Perhaps (wishfully thinking) you could even come down for a guest clinic?

    Craig

  10. CMAC permalink
    December 22, 2008 8:16 pm

    Curt, you rock and I have the upmost respect for you. I am an AZ boy in Chicago and a major Redsox fan. I can see that we have a couple losers here, no worries. You da_man!

  11. CMAC permalink
    December 22, 2008 8:23 pm

    BTW, golf pro in Az for 13 years and now a HP in Chicago. I played in an event in AZ that you played in, I think it was Greyhawk. If your ever in Chicago and would like to play let me know. Either way, you still rock and I love to read things that you write. When you wrote about how you signed and what you went through around Christams time to sign with Boston, that was great! I value your thoughts!

    CMAC

  12. Anthony permalink
    December 22, 2008 10:04 pm

    Hey Curt,

    U think you will pitch this year? Will it be a full season or half a season if u do pitch? Would u entertain thoughts of pitching for the Mets? They need a pitcher who knows how to get it done in September after the last 2 years. Where u think some of the FA’s that are still out there will go?

  13. John permalink
    December 22, 2008 10:17 pm

    Curt,

    I’d like to hear your take on this Furcal fiasco too. It seems like his agents really took the Braves office for a ride. A decision to never work with that gency again couldn’t have been made lightly.

  14. mainah permalink
    December 23, 2008 11:05 am

    hey curt, even if you never throw another pitch for the sox(except maybe opening day or playoffs, world series)your contributions to the red sox will be infamous!! Your 38 pitches web sight is insightful..and shows just how much you and your wife give to the boston community. as well as taking the time to visit men in far away places..who face life and death every day! I hope in some small way this note brightens your day, as you have mine on several occasions! merry christmas and GOD BLESS!

  15. PerryC permalink
    December 23, 2008 7:23 pm

    Is anyone really surprised that Texiera signed with the Yankees?

    I would have been shocked and amazed if he had signed with the Orioles or the Nationals.

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