The free agency period leading up to Major League Baseball’s 2019 season has produced a myriad of reports on the rumored signings of the games top stars. As writers fight online to claim credit for breaking news these details continue to seemingly leak out from the negotiation table to the timelines of Twitter, much to the chagrin of agents looking to maximize their client’s valuations.
For Dan Lozano of MVP Sports Group, agent to star infielder and sought after free agent Manny Machado, this digital rat race between writers has been filled with unsubstantiated claims and ‘reckless’ rumors. In a statement made to Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown, Lozano speaks about front office personnel “intentionally misleading them [writers] to try and affect negotiations through the public or are just flat out lying to them for other reasons.” Lozano is critical of front office chicanery, especially when the reports are floating figures such as $174 million over seven years, a significant deflation from the $300 million over 10 years figure that the 26-year-old Machado is seeking.
Lozano’s full statement:
I have known Bob Nightengale and Buster Olney for many years and have always had a good professional relationship with both. But their recent reporting, like many other rumors in the past several months, have been inaccurate and reckless when it comes to Manny Machado. I don’t know if their sources are blatantly violating the Collective Bargaining Agreement by intentionally misleading them to try and affect negotiations through the public or are just flat out lying to them for other reasons. But the truth is that their reports on the details of the White Sox level of interest in Manny are completely wrong.
I am well aware that the entire baseball universe; fans, players, teams, and media members alike; are starved for information about this free agent market for all players, including Manny. But I am not going to continue to watch the press be manipulated into tampering with, not just with my client, but all of these players’ livelihoods as they have been doing this entire offseason. The absence of new information to report is no excuse to fabricate “news” or regurgitate falsehoods without even attempting to confirm their validity and it is a disservice to baseball fans everywhere when the media does just that.
Moving forward, I will continue to respect the CBA’s prohibition on negotiations through the media, and hope that others would do the same.
Lozano’s comments aim to discredit the tweets of ESPN’s Buster Olney and USA Today’s Bob Nightengale both respected journalists in the MLB community, but whose reporting on the on-going courtship of Machado is lacking, due to sources feeding them “regurgitated falsehoods,” in his opinion. The media is a crucial component of baseball’s continued growth, social platforms have created a right now news cycle and fierce competition between its pundits to be the first to announce big updates on players and teams. Feeding information to writers is how players, teams, and agents shape the story to get the best possible outcome for their interests. The issue that Lozano points out, as per the ratified Collective Bargaining Agreement, is that organizations nor player representation can play out ongoing negotiations through social media, shaping the market to build a favorable outcome.
For now, the Machado sweepstakes continues but as free agency trudges through the cold of winter we may see agents becoming more heated in their rebuking of stories that are presented as cold hard fact.