The idea that an agent might switch sides is making some players uncomfortable.
Tony Clark, the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Assn., said he has heard from players concerned over the possibility that the New York Mets might hire agent Brodie Van Wagenen as their head of baseball operations.
“I won’t tell you how many calls or how many texts I have gotten,” Clark said Friday at Dodger Stadium, before Game 3 of the World Series. “I will simply suggest to you that our membership is paying attention.
“They understand the opportunities that exist for representatives to make the decisions that they are going to make. … To the extent that possibility exists, I would be confident in suggesting that the understanding and appreciation for confidential information remains so.”
The move from agent to the front office would not be unprecedented. The Lakers last year hired Kobe Bryant’s agent, Rob Pelinka, as their general manager. In the most recent example in baseball, the Arizona Diamondbacks employed Dave Stewart, the pitcher-turned-agent, as their general manager from 2014 to 2016.
Scott Boras, the highest-profile agent in baseball, said he has been approached by teams about a similar position and has turned down every opportunity to interview. He said the conflicts of interest could be unavoidable.
“If someone came to my son and made a commitment to him, and said I want to care about your interests, and then he took all that information that my son had given him over time, and then he went to work for a team and used that to negotiate against me, I would be very upset,” Boras told the Los Angeles Times on Friday.
Eduardo Perez, the former Angels first baseman and son of Hall of Famer Tony Perez, is part of the ESPN crew at the World Series. Perez has expressed his frustration at the slow pace at which major league teams have hired minority managers, and he was pleased to see that the Toronto Blue Jays hired Charlie Montoyo on Thursday, in a week in which the Angels hired Brad Ausmus, the Cincinnati Reds hired David Bell and the Minnesota Twins hired Rocco Baldelli.
Perez said there are numerous Latino and African American coaches deserving of managerial opportunities, and he said the lack of an analytical background should not rule out candidates. He cited in particular former major leaguer and current Pittsburgh Pirates coach Joey Cora, who managed Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora on the same winter ball team.
“Joey Cora was a math major at Vanderbilt. He’s never gotten an opportunity,” Perez said. “His brother is doing pretty well. I’m just saying.”
Perez appreciates his ESPN job, but he too has managed in winter ball. His communications skills and playing experience could make him a good fit, in an industry lacking in managerial diversity.
“The only way I can say I’d be interested is if I get a call,” Perez said. “That hasn’t happened.”
Big bat awards
J.D. Martinez of the Boston Red Sox and Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers were honored Friday as winners of the Hank Aaron Award, presented to the top offensive player in each league.
Martinez batted .330 with 43 home runs. He struck out 146 times.
Yelich batted .326 with 36 home runs. He struck out 135 times.
Aaron, who never struck out 100 times in a season, said he considered it embarrassing that players now strike out 150 or 200 times per year. He said he never shrugged off a strikeout.
“I didn’t crack my bat on my leg or try to chew it up,” he said, “but I felt embarrassed.”
However, increased strikeouts go hand-in-hand with increased velocity, and Aaron said he had joked with Willie Mays that neither player might make the major leagues today.
“They’d be probably sending us to class D ball,” Aaron said, “because we wouldn’t know how to the hit these guys at 100 miles an hour.”
Follow Bill Shaikin on Twitter @BillShaikin