Bobby Valentine ain't gonna be the Indians' next manager

Leave a comment

Give Bobby Valentine points for honesty, but ask yourself: if you were hiring a guy for a high profile position and he said these things after the interview, would you be all that eager to give him the gig?

On rebuilding:  “I don’t know that’s exactly the thing I want to do right now, either . . . I’m not sure that’s what I want to do, but, again, I haven’t been offered a job so I don’t have to decide whether or not I definitely want to do this.”

On the state of the Indians: “I don’t know as much about Cleveland as someone interviewing for their manager’s job should. I could have crammed for the last six days and read every article and called every friend and got every little bit of information, just in case one of you guys asked me who the starting third baseman should be next year and I didn’t do it.” 

On the American League: “I can tell you I don’t know about the American League. I don’t know about the Central and I don’t know about the Indians, but I sure as heck am willing to learn and spend about 28 hours a day, if necessary, to know everything I could possibly know.”

Again, in most things in life it’s better to be honest than to offer baloney, so kudos to Valentine. But interviewing for a job ain’t most things in life.  No employer wants to feel like a candidate isn’t eager for the job, and if an interviewee gave the equivalent kind of answers — “I don’t know enough about Acme Corp. as someone interviewing for the regional sales manager’s position should . . .” — they’d never get the gig.

Baseball owners are even less enamored with such brutal honesty, and I’m guessing that when the Dolans read those comments, it will sour them on Valentine.

Scott Boras says it would be a conflict of interest for an agent to become a GM

Elsa/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.