Who is Rachel Luba, the former UCLA gymnast who negotiated Trevor Bauer’s deal?
“So excited for your next chapter with the @Dodgers, Trevor Bauer,” the tweet read.
This wasn’t just a fan or friend extending congratulations to the Dodgers’ newest addition.
This was the player agent who made it happen.
Bauer’s agent Rachel Luba helped seal the Cy Young winner’s reported three-year, $102 million deal that will make him the highest-paid player in league history in 2021 ($40 million) and 2022 ($45 million). The contract is the latest high point in Luba’s budding career that has turned the 28-year-old former UCLA gymnast into the youngest certified female MLB agent and a member of Forbes’ 30 under 30.
Here’s what to know about the woman behind Bauer’s big signing:
While Bauer starred at UCLA from 2009-11, becoming the first UCLA player to ever earn the Golden Spikes Award, which honors the nation’s best amateur baseball player, Luba was going through her own athletic path at the school.
Luba came to UCLA in 2010 and joined the gymnastics team for the 2011 season. Luba was a Level 10 gymnast — the highest level before Olympic competition — and competed at the Level 10 national championships in 2009. The Monterey, Calif., native originally planned to compete in college at California, she told UCLA’s student newspaper, The Daily Bruin, but with Cal’s women’s gymnastics team at risk of being cut, Luba walked on at UCLA in 2011.
The Bruins were the reigning national champions.
Luba’s gymnastics career at UCLA was brief as she did not return to the team the next season, writing on her website that a “multitude of injuries” forced her to retire. She soon channeled her athletic ambition to a new arena: boxing.
In 2013, Luba participated in the U.S. Intercollegiate Boxing Association Championships in the first women’s boxing national championship at the collegiate level.
UCLA student Rachel Luba talks about competing in the U.S. Intercollegiate Boxing Association Championships in 2013.
Luba graduated from UCLA in 2013 before going to law school at Pepperdine. She started in baseball as a salary arbitration attorney with the MLB players association, but left “intent on launching her own agency,” she wrote on her website.
Bauer was Luba’s first client in 2019.
Building a roster
After signing her old college friend and starting Luba Sports, her company based in Maple Valley, Wash., Luba added former Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig to her client list in November 2020. Puig intended to sign with the Atlanta Braves last season, but did not play after a positive COVID-19 test.
Luba also represents professional softball player Paige Halstead, a catcher on UCLA’s 2019 national championship-winning team, and MLB coaches.
Luba’s agency seeks to “offer clients hyper-personalized and customizable representation packages and to revitalize a stagnant industry,” her website reads. A force on social media with more than 100,000 followers on Twitter and Instagram combined, Luba has brought a unique approach to baseball.
“I want to see a better landscape. I want to see better representation, better branding, better marketing, stuff like that,” Bauer told Complex in 2020. “And Rachel and Luba Sports perfectly align with that, allowing flexibility to players to use the money that they’ve paid their agent in more creative ways and get more for their dollar. They get the same value for the contract negotiation.”
Free-agent pitcher Trevor Bauer announces he is signing with the Dodgers.
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