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Alex Bregman fires his agent because of LeBron James

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It’s not unusual for ballplayer to switch agents. Sometimes it’s because they think they need a bigger name to get that bigger payday. Sometimes it’s because they feel the agent isn’t doing the most they can to further his interests. Like a lot of professional services relationship, in some ways you start losing a client the moment they retain you.

Astros star Alex Bregman is switching agents. His reasons for doing so, however, are a bit different than the norm. He’s doing it because LeBron James is doing something that’s hurting his feelings.

Bregman was represented by Brodie Scofield, the top baseball agent at a company called Klutch Sports. James is also represented by Klutch Sports. James, in addition to basketball, has a budding media company called Uninterrupted, and it was announced earlier this week that Uninterrupted is producing that sign-stealing documentary.

According to Ken Rosenthal, even though Scofield has nothing to do with it — and even though Uninterrupted is not even a part of Klutch Sports — Bregman considered it a conflict of interest:

The sports world remains shut down, but Astros third baseman Alex Bregman, runner-up in the 2019 American League MVP voting, is changing agents because of … LeBron James?

The answer is yes, according to four sources with knowledge of Bregman’s thinking.

The involvement of James’ media platform Uninterrupted in a new docuseries on the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal was perhaps not the only reason Bregman left Brodie Scoffield, whose company last month became the baseball arm of James’ agency, Klutch Sports. But the sources said it was an overriding factor — at the very least, the last straw.

A couple of thoughts.

I suppose people could disagree if there is an actual conflict of interest between James and Bregman here. If Klutch is doing stuff to promote or leverage the sign-stealing documentary, yeah, I’d be pissed if I was Bregman too and I’d consider it a conflict probably. But given that this is being done by James’ company, and it’s not likely that Klutch is representing James-the-entrepreneur like it does James-the-basketball player/personality, I feel like it’s, at most, a broad philosophical conflict. More about Bregman not wanting to be associated with anything at is associated with James as opposed to a genuine ethical matter. If someone is more familiar with agent/client conflicts wants to weigh in, by all means do so.

Second thought: while Bregman is a good player, I doubt Klutch is going to lose a moment’s sleep over this alleged conflict costing them his business. From a business perspective, Bregman is an ant and James is a boot. If forced to choose — and again, I don’t think they’d actually be forced to here given that they have nothing to do with the documentary — it’s pretty clear who they’d choose.

Finally, while not everyone is producing a documentary about it, good luck to Bregman finding an agent who doesn’t represent fellow athletes who think that what he and the Astros did was garbage. James has the clout to make a movie. But what if Bregman wants to hire Scott Boras and Scott Boras clients tweeted stuff about the Astros being cheaters? Is that going to offend his sensibilities too? Is there an agent who only represents 2017 Astros players?

Anyway, as the email from your former agent likely says, good luck with your future endeavors, Alex.

 

Ex-Angels employee charged in overdose death of Tyler Skaggs

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FORT WORTH, Texas — A former Angels employee has been charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl in connection with last year’s overdose death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, prosecutors in Texas announced Friday.

Eric Prescott Kay was arrested in Fort Worth, Texas, and made his first appearance Friday in federal court, according to Erin Nealy Cox, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. Kay was communications director for the Angels.

Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room in the Dallas area July 1, 2019, before the start of what was supposed to be a four-game series against the Texas Rangers. The first game was postponed before the teams played the final three games.

Skaggs died after choking on his vomit with a toxic mix of alcohol and the powerful painkillers fentanyl and oxycodone in his system, a coroner’s report said. Prosecutors accused Kay of providing the fentanyl to Skaggs and others, who were not named.

“Tyler Skaggs’s overdose – coming, as it did, in the midst of an ascendant baseball career – should be a wake-up call: No one is immune from this deadly drug, whether sold as a powder or hidden inside an innocuous-looking tablet,” Nealy Cox said.

If convicted, Kay faces up to 20 years in prison. Federal court records do not list an attorney representing him, and an attorney who previously spoke on his behalf did not immediately return a message seeking comment.