Headline MLB Players Sports Business

Being Released Is Not The End Of The Road

For all the joy that I receive as an agent for very talented athletes, I also feel their pain when at some point in their career, they are told that there is no longer a spot for them on a given team’s roster.  My job is to do everything I can do help out players on their rise, but to also take care of them if things are not going so well.  Luckily, I am backed by a great group of individuals as Dynasty Athlete Representation, LLC, who are very well connected in the industry, and able to find opportunities for our clients who may have heard news that their services are no longer needed on the team that they have worked for in the past.

In the past week, many Major League Baseball organizations have released players.  They do this, for the most part, to leave room for players that they will be drafting in the Rule 4 draft this Summer.  With 50 rounds of picks, including potential picks in supplemental rounds, and most teams using up each of those slots to draft players (even though not all players actually sign), it is understandable that space needs to be made.  As an agent, you just hope that it is not your client who will be brought into the office to hear that he is being let go.

But again, it is part of the business, and something we must accept and not ruminate about.  Upon hearing from a client who was just released, we have a conversation that focuses on whether the player wants to continue to play professional ball, whether he is willing to play in an Independent League to get seen by MLB-affiliated scouts, and if we can help the player out in any other way.

This year, we had a total of six players released from their respective organizations.  Some were real shockers based on what we had been told by management and based on their performances in Spring Training.  But there are a lot of factors involved in the decision making on the team side, and it is not my responsibility to worry about what goes on in their minds or question their decisions.  Instead, for the players who expressed that they were willing to play Indie Ball to continue to show their skill, we went to work, talking to teams who might be interested in their services.  Fortunately, at this point, we have been able to place every single player that we had released, who had also told us that they definitely want to continue to play.  One of our guys is going to hang up the cleats and see if he can find a good job scouting.

I know what it is like from the agent side.  If you want to read about it from the player’s side, I suggest reading this post by Garrett Broshuis.  A lot of the guys who get cut are more than just names; they are good people.  Hopefully they are successful from that point on.  And hopefully they have agents who will stay by their side through the good and the bad times.

If you want information about Dynasty’s Professional Baseball Placement Service, please click here to email us.

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.

13 replies on “Being Released Is Not The End Of The Road”

It is great to read about the proactive approach your agency takes in helping players continue their careers. So often, many players are shunned by their agents once they are released. All of a sudden the agent doesn’t pick up the phone or flat out lies to you about trying to find you a job.

In regards to the independent route, how often do players actually resign with an affiliated team? In my conversations with players who have chosen that route they complain that many teams will not sell their contracts to affiliated teams due to the fact that the Independent team is running a business also. How much validity is there to this theory?

It depends on the Independent League and the performance of the player (and most often if a scout happens to be present at a game where the player performs well + the scout subjectively believing the player will be a good fit on his MLB-affiliated team). As far as selling contracts is concerned, that language is in the player’s contract once he signs with the Indie team. Of course, teams don’t want to see their best players leave, but being generous in letting a player leave will also attract more talent (as those players with the best chance of making it to, or back to, MLB-affiliated ball will want to be able to leave an Indie team with ease).

Hey Darren, great post! I just recently had my first athlete released from his organization. As a young agent I was blown away, first of all because in my heart I just knew that my first player would make it to the show. I luckily have a great supportive team and we have bound together to find my player a new team. I still have faith that he will make it, but i doubt people realize how emotionally vested agents are with their athletes. I felt like I was cut from the team. I would like to hear more on your strategies for dealing with cut players. Good luck on the Draft and the Bar. MBE Q&A all day every day.

It’s tough, because we are emotionally invested (in addition to being financially invested). What we have done is continue our relationships with Indie managers that we have had clients on in the past, actively build relationships with new Indie club GMs, managers, etc. You never know if/why a player will be cut. Always good to have contingency plans in place. Ugh, don’t remind me about the Bar.

darren i just checked your website, i need to admit i am SHOCKED adams and johnson got released, johnson batted 340 in back to back seasons, and hardly had any time to bring up his average at clinton. and adams had a 1.69 era, what does it take to not get cut then, a sub 1 era??? thats rediculous. not sure if you could expand on why the teams cut these 2 guys cause it just doesnt make sense. well thats just my 2 cents haha

The Mariners have a lot of Catchers in the organization. They are sort of “pot-committed” to them, including first round pick, Steven Baron. Someone at the position had to be cut, and it just happened to be Tommy. It says nothing about his skill, but neither do many organization cuts. Adams also had great numbers. Check out what Gary Amato did last year ( Try to explain that one (other than by looking at his age).

Where did Gary Amato end up? I was a fan of his last year when he was a Lakemonster. He had great number thought for sure he was bound for Hagerstown.

A lot of it is just making sure that the player continues to play (significant time off can really hurt a player’s stock) and then doing whatever is possible to have that player seen by scouts.

Darren – what teams/leagues did you place your guys in for Indy ball. Also how do you do that – do you contact each team or just the league? Who’ in charge of signings/placements?

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