Rich Paul
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Rich Paul’s Klutch Sports agency acquires Tidal Sports Group

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Super-agent Rich Paul’s Klutch Sports has bought Tidal Sports Group, an agency run by Brodie Scoffield. Tidal’s clients include Alex Bregman, Marcus Stroman, Keston Hiura, and Mariners top prospect Jarred Kelenic. Tidal will become Klutch’s baseball operation, according to Ken Rosenthal.

Klutch’s entry into the baseball realm is potentially landscape-altering. Paul has made a name for himself by representing LeBron James and being one of the biggest power brokers in the NBA. He and James orchestrated the rebirth of the Lakers.

The Klutch brand could appeal to baseball players as a potential vehicle to the level of celebrity enjoyed by basketball players. Tidal’s client list is quite small when compared to the breadth of the operations run by The Boras Corporation and CAA, but its current clients could be the key to why it was targeted. Bregman and Stroman both have somewhat sizable social media presences and are dynamic personalities (although Bregman has gone somewhat quiet since the Houston cheating scandal began), and play on teams in large markets. Bregman used to be active on YouTube, and Stroman has a merchandising business. Kelenic retaining Tidal’s services is also interesting, given that he has the potential to be a star.

It seems possible that Klutch could pitch itself as a ticket to fame and influence, a vehicle through which players can boost their images where the league has failed to do so. Paul does not necessarily need to challenge Scott Boras, as he’s already a very wealthy man, but it will be fascinating to see how Klutch’s entrance into baseball impacts the game.

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Oakland Athletics reverse course, will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.