The 2018 MLB season has been over for a couple weeks and as the taste of champagne dissipates from the lips of the Red Sox faithful, the parade navigates to the MLB General Manager meetings, where agent movement and lingering free agent rumors act as the seasons nightcap.
The GM meetings afford MLB executives the opportunity to discuss various issues facing the growth of baseball and hash out potential solutions: salary arbitration, pace of play, and social media to name a few. Player representatives are familiar faces at the meetings and are likely to be present among those gathered in Carlsbad, CA. With a plethora of talent set to become free agents this upcoming year, agents will use these meetings as a chance to get in the ear of teams before the December 6th Winter Meetings, where free agency chatter takes center stage.
A tweet from FanCred writer Jon Heyman broke the news of Brian Peters and Kenny Felder, formerly of The Legacy Agency, making the switch to Excel Sports Management. The change comes after both longtime agents of the Manhattan firm decided on a change in scenery and moved 10 streets down to 53rd and Broadway, to the Excel Sports Management HQ. The pair is not traveling alone, key clients A.J Pollock, centerfielder for the Arizona Diamondbacks, George Springer of the Houston Astros, and Lewis Brinson of the Miami Marlins have decided to sign with Excel and remain with their agents. Felder’s client Michael Brantley has also been confirmed to be joining Excel last week as well.
Brantley is set to join free agency this off-season, after not receiving a qualifying offer from the Indians. He has the opportunity to test the free agent waters and sign with any team without that organization having to surrender draft compensation. A 10-year veteran for Cleveland; the team at Excel will be chatting with potential suitors and working to complete a rumored contract in the 3-year, $45 million-range for the 31-year-old outfielder.
Excel manages a client roster boasting 162 athletes in golf, basketball, football, individual sports and baseball. The addition of Peters and Felder with their clients acts to bolster the already star-studded baseball roster, which features the likes of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Jason Heyward to name a few. Excel Sports Management was ranked #3 on the 2018 Forbes List of Sports Agencies and has remained a top-three valuable agency for the past three years. As 162 current MLB players are set for free agency this off-season, movement between agencies, like that of Peters and Felder, reverberate through the agent community and lead to changes on the diamond. Just as the agent needs to assure they are presenting their client with the best deal available, firms need to reciprocate or risk their talent poached.