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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.

 

Royals outfielder Gordon to retire after 14 seasons

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Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon, the former first-round pick whose rollercoaster career took him from near bust to All-Star and Gold Glove winner, announced Thursday he will retire after the season.

Gordon was the second overall pick in the 2005 first-year player draft following a standout career at Nebraska, where he won the Golden Spikes Award as the best amateur in baseball. He made his big league debut two years later and, after a few years shuttling back and forth to the minors, moved from third base to the outfield and finally found success.

He wound up playing his entire 14-year career in Kansas City, joining only George Brett and Frank White as position players with that much longevity with the franchise. He heads into a weekend four-game series against Detroit with the third-most walks (682), fourth-most homers (190), fifth-most doubles (357) and sixth-most games played (1,749) in club history.

The three-time All-Star also holds the dubious distinction of being the Royals’ career leader in getting hit by pitches.

While he never quite hit with the kind of average the Royals hoped he would, Gordon did through sheer grit turn himself into one of the best defensive players in the game. He is the only outfielder to earn seven Gold Gloves in a nine-year span, a number that trails only White’s eight for the most in franchise history, and there are enough replays of him crashing into the outfield wall at Kauffman Stadium or throwing out a runner at the plate to run for hours.

Gordon won the first of three defensive player of the year awards in 2014, when he helped Kansas City return to the World Series for the first time since its 1985 championship. The Royals wound up losing to the Giants in a seven-game thriller, but they returned to the Fall Classic the following year and beat the Mets in five games to win the World Series.

It was during the 2015 that Gordon hit one of the iconic homers in Royals history. His tying shot off Mets closer Jeurys Familia in Game 1 forced extra innings, and the Royals won in 14 to set the tone for the rest of the World Series.

Gordon signed a one-year contract to return this season, and he never considered opting out when the coronavirus pandemic caused spring training to be halted and forced Major League Baseball to play a dramatically reduced 60-game schedule.

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