Scott Boras may be the prominent agent making all the headlines this offseason, what with his signature out there quotes and the league trying to lay all the blame for the standoff at his feet. But he’s not the only top baseball agent whose clients are struggling to get signed for what they consider a fair price, and another agent is now speaking out about the lack of signings and the possibility of a strike during Spring Training.
Brodie Van Wagenen, the co-head of CAA Baseball, has represented players like Robinson Cano, Yoenis Cespedes, and yes ... Tim Tebow (sigh). And on Twitter Friday morning he posted a lengthy screed about the current free agency market while advocating for a show of power by free agents and players who currently have contracts.
In the post, Van Wagenen makes assertions that it seems many people around the sport have been thinking over the past few weeks. He also capitalizes “Baseball” and “Championships” for no clear reason and probably could have used a copy editor before throwing this online, but that’s besides the point. (Unless he wants to explain to me why he capitalized those words, in which case I will happily discuss that further.)
He describes the players as “outraged” and not just the ones who haven’t been signed this offseason. Which is possibly the biggest takeaway here — that the players sitting pretty with longterm contracts are just as upset about the implications of this offseason as those who are directly affected. That they see the longterm issues they are currently facing and understand the importance of finding a solution before it gets any worse.
His points ring true, even if (as he acknowledges) they might not have enough evidence behind them to be fact just yet. Whether it’s collusion or not, it certainly feels like it.
Van Wagenen does offer some insight as to how negotiations are going, with references to GMs and team presidents who are unable to commit the same money to free agents as they have been in the past. If that’s the case for more than a select few teams, then it offers a modicum of evidence that owners are dictating how this offseason is going down. And that it’s not because these free agents aren’t at the same level as next season’s crop of free agent prizes, as some have argued.
Those valid points and insight about this offseason are overshadowed by some of the more aggressive and grandstanding pieces of his post, specifically the points where he says “I would suggest that testing the will of 1,200 alpha males at the pinnacle of their profession is not a good strategy” and, “They are willing to sweat for it; they are willing to sacrifice for it; they are willing to cry for it; and most importantly, they are willing to bleed for it.”
Okay buddy, maybe tone the Independence Day meter on your computer down. Just a tad. We get the message.
That a top agent is willing to put this in writing, including a legitimate argument for and threat of the Spring Training boycott that has recently been swirling, shows how dire things are for free agents and those who currently have job security alike. There’s a hint of a panic beginning, about the present situation but also how this could get worse for the players in the future.