* Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times speculates
that the Mariners are close to trading Yuniesky Betancourt after he was
scratched from a minor-league rehab game Thursday despite claiming to
* Sony has hired Aaron Sorkin to rewrite the Moneyball movie script in the hopes of salvaging the project after Steven Soderbergh walked away. According to the New York Times,
if Sorkin can make the rewrites quickly Sony is hoping to find a new
director and the shoot the film “in the fall of this year” with Brad
Pitt still in the Billy Beane role.
* Last night David Ortiz became the 124th member of the 300-homer club, joining 18 other active players. Ortiz is batting .300 with 10 homers in his last 29 games after hitting just .188 with one homer through 49 games.
* Derek Jeter talked up the homefield advantage of the Metrodome and opined that “it’s going to be tough” for the Twins in their new ballpark next season … after the Yankees completed a three-game sweep in Minnesota. Jeter and the Yankees are now 46-16 against the Twins since 2002.
Earlier, Craig wrote about the latest in the Mets’ search for a new general manager. Their list has been pared down to three candidates: Chaim Bloom (Rays senior VP of baseball operations), Doug Melvin (Brewers senior advisor), and agent Brodie Van Wagenen (of Creative Artists Agency).
It’s a diverse list, for sure, which makes one wonder what process allowed them to arrive at these final three candidates. Bloom is new school, Melvin is older-school, and Van Wagenen is… just inexperienced. Van Wagenen in particular is an interesting candidate as he has spent years advocating on his clients’ behalf. As a GM, he would do the exact opposite: he would try to take advantage of his players whenever possible, like every other GM in baseball does (e.g. manipulating service time).
Per Mike Puma of the New York Post, agent Scott Boras thinks there would be a conflict of interest if an agent were to become a GM. Boras, in fact, says he has turned down opportunities to lead front offices. But there is no verbiage saying that an agent must divest himself of his business interests before taking a job in a front office. Dave Stewart and Jeff Moorad are two examples of agents who later went onto the ownership side of the business. Stewart, in fact, moved into the front office after retiring and held various roles in with various organizations until he started Sports Management Partners (renamed Stewart Management Partners). He transferred control of the agency to Dave Henderson before he joined the Diamondbacks’ front office near the end of the 2014 season.
Ownership and labor are in constant conflict, even when things seem peaceful. Ownership wants to extract as much labor as possible as cheaply as possible. Labor wants to be paid for their work as much as possible. Their goals contradict each other and yet they need each other. While not required, usually being deeply on one side or the other — as agents and GM’s are — speaks to one’s personal ethos about the eternal tug-of-war. That Van Wagenen is so eager to switch sides speaks, perhaps, to opportunism. I would be, at minimum, unsettled if I were a client of Wan Wagenen’s at CAA. How might he use the sensitive information he was privy to as an agent to his advantage as a GM?
We have seen the analytics wave take over front offices around baseball. As ownership looks for ever more ways to pocket more cash, Van Wagenen’s candidacy may signal an upcoming wave of agents transitioning into front office roles. Hopefully that doesn’t become the case. There may be no one better equipped to take advantage of labor than someone experienced on that side of the battlefield.