That little workout in Houston wasn’t the only thing happening in Aroldis Chapman land yesterday. The other thing: Athletes Premier International and Edwin Mejia — his original agents — sued his new agents, Hendricks Sports Management, claiming that they illegally lured him away after API and Mejia went through all the trouble of helping Chapman defect and setting up residency in Andorra and all of that.
For you lawyers out there, the claims are (1) tortious interference with a contract; (2) tortious interference with business relations; and (3) unjust enrichment. For you non-lawyers out there, it amounts to a claim Hendricks gave Chapman a big song and dance, talked smack about the old agents, and dangled some unholy combination of lies and shiny things in front of his eyes in order to get him to sign on with team Hendricks, and now stand to unfairly profit from the giant bonus their client is about to receive. A copy of the lawsuit can be found here.
Players are allowed to switch agents if they want, but let’s be clear: there’s all kinds of ugliness in these sorts of relationships. If you want an education about this stuff, read Jerry Crasnick’s excellent book about agents, which gives some pretty good insight about how agents steal clients from one another all the time. It takes a pair of brass ones to make it in that racket.
Obviously this suit isn’t about wanting Chapman back. It’s about wanting a cut of the $15 million+ that Chapman is going to get from one of the teams who watched him down in Houston yesterday. Whether the plaintiffs get any of that depends on whether the change of representation in this case was the usual unseemly affair, or an unseemly affair with a gloss of illegality sprinkled on top.
The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.
Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.
Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.
There is little if any controversy to be had about the caps this year’s inductees will wear on their Hall of Fame plaques, but in case there was any doubt at all, it was put to rest this afternoon at the Hall of Fame press conference: Tim Raines will wear a Montreal Expos cap and Ivan Rodriguez will wear a Rangers cap. Jeff Bagwell, of course, never played for a team other than the Houston Astros at the big league level.
Though Raines had some good seasons with the Chicago White Sox and though he helped provide a nice kick start to the Yankees dynasty in the mid-1990s, his best seasons, by far, took place while he was an Expo. It’s also the case that the bulk of his Hall of Fame push came from Expos fans. He was particularly boosted by Jonah Keri, who recently wrote a book detailing the history of the Expos. So, yeah, that’s easy.
Rodriguez played 13 of his 21 years with the Texas Rangers, including his MVP 1999 season. He did have some notable years elsewhere, particularly in Detroit where he remains a fan favorite, but it was always going to be the Rangers for him, one would think. Maybe a slight, slight chance that he’d do the blank cap thing, Greg Maddux-style, but smart money was on the Rangers.
With Bagwell, the only question is which Astros cap he’ll wear. There are a couple of applicable ones: the brick red star, which he wore to the World Series in 2005. There’s also the shooting star cap he wore during his best seasons and which Craig Biggio’s plaque displays. He was around for the classic “H” over the star look, but he was just a kid then, so I doubt he’d wear it.
Anyway, sorry to the Marlins fans who wished that Raines and Pudge would wear the fishy-F.