2011 Hot Stove Season: Know Your Agents

I always tell people that Major League Baseball's season is damn-near a 365 day affair. Of course, the instant that the final team celebrates that last out in the middle of the diamond marks the moment that most people turn their undivided attention to football. The seasoned fans know better though. That's because we know the Hot Stove season is right around the corner.

The Hot Stove season, or the period of time when teams land the big name free agents or pull off blockbuster trades, is a very exciting and important time for teams and their fans. The biggest free agents that hit the market are usually covered pretty thoroughly throughout the media. There is a massive element that the majority of fans don't really pay much mind to - the agents representing the free agents.

Over at ESPN (insider required), Jim Bowden provides scouting reports on four agents/agencies that will handle the negotiations for four of the biggest free agents on the market this off-season. If you have insider, I would absolutely recommend reading the whole piece as its very interesting and insightful. Here are the main points.

CAA - Mark Buehrle

  • Team of agents will be led by Jeff Berry in Buehrle's negotiations
  • Inclusive vs. Exclusive - have no problem sending their clients to the small market teams for the right deal
  • Private negotiations.
  • Timing determined by market - mostly in the middle, but will finish contracts first and last on occasion.

Peter E. Greenberg and Associates - Jose Reyes

  • Peter and his brother, Edward, are based in New York - a potential plus for the New York Mets.
  • Law, banking and marketing backgrounds provide a well-rounded approach.
  • Peter is the lead agent for Jose Reyes.
  • Negotiation style described by Bowden as "conversational not confrontational".
  • Will take a very "substance over style" approach without any glitz or glamor.

The Boras Corporation - Prince Fielder

  • Most well known agent in baseball - perhaps sports - history. Bowden suggests that he could be the first agent inducted into the Hall of Fame.
  • Equally predictable and unpredictable - likes to have his clients hit free agent market but will sign extensions if it is the right move (i.e. Carlos Gonzalez and Jered Weaver).
  • Top dog, but he has an extremely talented support group.
  • Polar opposite of most agencies and agents that like to keep a low profile. Boras plays teams off of each other, makes threats, bluffs, etc.
  • For all of the "madness" he gets the job done time and time again.

Icon Sports Group - Albert Pujols

  • Dan Lozano will lead the Pujols negotiations
  • Lozano was once fiery and could unleash a temper, but he has toned that down and become a much more even keeled negotiator.
  • Quite negotiations won't usually hit the media.
  • Albert Pujols had this to say, "Dan is the best agent in sports and a guy that I trust with my life... What more can you ask for?"That quote speaks volumes.

Keep these scouting reports in mind once the Hot Stove season rolls around. They might provide you with the insight that you need to stay a step ahead of the Jim Romes and Woody Paiges of the sports world.

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