Arbitration Contract Negotiation Headline MLB Players MLB Teams

Next On The Agenda: B.J. Upton

B.J. Upton is the 2nd player to reach an arbitration hearing this February.  Corey Hart was the first, and in his case, the panel of arbitrators handed Hart the victory, and $4.8 million (compared to the Brewers’ offer of $4.15 million).  Upton’s has already had his hearing yesterday, and one of the 3 panelists (Elizabeth Neumeier) also sat in on Hart’s hearing.

Upton earned $435,000 in 2009.  Before reaching arbitration, the Tampa Bay Rays offered $3 million.  Upton countered with a $3.3 million proposal.  The relatively small gap of $300,000 was enough of an incentive for the parties to pay their attorneys to prepare for and execute an arbitration hearing.

An announced decision is expected later today.  Tampa Bay has never lost an arbitration hearing (4-0 record), but that really doesn’t mean anything.  With Tim Lincecum coming to an agreement with the San Francisco Giants prior to his hearing, Upton is now the focus of the baseball world (at least for the next few hours).

Here is how the guys at FanGraphs project Upton in 2010.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

15 replies on “Next On The Agenda: B.J. Upton”

Thanks for the arbitration-related posts. This is exactly what I think this site should do more of (like the “let’s make a deal” concept) – while I know Dynasty Reps prides itself on marketing, social media (in addition to personal attention, etc.), I think that the agent’s main role is to negotiate player contracts (see the trend with football players hire a separate agency for marketing purposes). How skilled are you (or personnel at Dynasty) as arbitration/salary negotiations? With Parise, I really want to see that guy make the Major Leauge squad this year, but when will he make money? Won’t it be six years of service until he is a free agent? Can an agent charge during arbitration years (after 3 years of Parise making close to the minimum, right)? How much does a middle reliever make in arbitration years? With Tampa Bay, I read that they didn’t think the $300,000 gap was enough of an incentive for the parties to pay their attorneys but they have a strict policy that if they file and exchange numbers with the player, they always go to a hearing. As an agent, do you have access to all of the contract information for MLB players? Thanks and keep up the great work.

I was at the top of my class in Negotiations & Mediation at UF Law. We are also well connected to many experts (including leading statisticians) who are hired to prepare for arbitration. We have not yet been a part of an MLB arbitration, but neither is any other agent when he first starts out. I am fully confident that when/if I ever do have an arbitration hearing for one of my clients, I will diligently represent him.

I also want to see Parise make the MLB squad. He will make money immediately, but yes, 6 years before a free agent with many years of possible arbitration. There is no reason that an agent would not be able to charge during arbitration years. We cannot take commission if he is at the minimum, however.

I read the same thing about Tampa Bay’s strict policy. A great source for contract information is:

Thanks, DH! Great insights and that website is helpful for me to try to learn about this stuff. I have confidence you have and will continue to do a great job for your clients. Keep up the great work. After you graduate, will you be focusing full-time on running Dynasty? Any chance you’ll get your first NBA or NFL draft pick this year?

Focusing full-time on Dynasty is the plan. I think we are closer to getting our first NBA pick than our first NFL pick, but I think we still may be a year off from an NBA pick. Expect quite a few MLB picks, though.

Thanks for the response. By the way I was going through spring training rosters and saw your client Atahualpa Severino was added to the 40 man roster for the nationals I wanted to say congradulations. I am still trying to learn more about baseball and if I remember he finished the season at AA, so can he realistically make it to the MLB like parise this year or does he still have another year or so? Thanks and congrads once again!

Oh ok sorry to hear that. How common is client stealing in the agent business? Is this your first client that you lost? Makes me not want to be an agent anymore lol

Client stealing is very common. 2nd client we have lost, but the 1st client has recently called and seems to want to take us back. We were told that Severino left because he was offered a cell phone and his brother was offered a job. If that’s what it takes, then good riddance!

wow LOL @ a cell phone. The joke is on the agent who offered a cell phone, because if this athlete is willing to accept this type of small bribe as a minor leaguer, he will most likely be taking the bigger bribes from other agents if he ever gets called to the big show. Sometimes its better to cut your losses and stay away from these slimeball type clients!

Wouldn’t getting a client a cell phone to make him happy and getting you certified as an agent be worth it???

1) He never expressed his desire for me to purchase him a cell phone, and 2) No, it would not be worth it. If a player is willing to leave an agent over a cell phone, I don’t want him. I want clients that want someone who can represent them in contractual negotiations, not someone who will buy them toys.

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