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The Man Who Helped Mike Napoli Sign For Above Midpoint

If you are not a baseball agent who has ever had to prepare for an arbitration hearing, you have probably never heard of Marc Rubin…unless, of course, you were a Sports Agent Blog reader in September 2010, when I wrote about the co-owner of RayRubin Sports Analysts.  Very few agents have a Mathematics background.  Even fewer focused their studies on Statistics.  While many of us are expert negotiators and need little help with making an oral argument, the details within that argument may be augmented with the help of professionals like Marc Rubin.

Most recently, Rubin assisted Brian Grieper of GPR Sports Management regarding Mike Napoli’s contract.  Napoli was an interesting case; he asked for $6.1 million and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim asked for $5.3 million.  Thereafter, Napoli was traded to the Blue Jays and finally ended up with the Rangers, before the Rangers and Grieper settled, preventing an arbitration hearing from occurring.  And they settled at a figure above the midpoint.  The midpoint would have been $5.7 million.  Napoli, with the help of Marc Rubin, signed a $5.8 million deal, $100,000 above the midpoint.  Another player who signed for $100,000 over the midpoint was Miguel Montero, who signed a $3.2 million deal with the Diamondbacks.

It is no easy feat to convince a club to settle for a value above the midpoint.  As points of reference, Kameron Loe signed for $1.25 million (midpoint of $1,352,500), Kevin Slowey signed for $2.7 million (same as midpoint), and Andres Torres signed for $2.1 million (midpoint of $2.2 million).  Sometimes players and agents realize that they threw out a high-ball number and acquiesce on signing at the midpoint or just below the midpoint.  Other times, they just do not have the best resources to prove their cases.  That’s where a guy like Marc Rubin comes in hand.

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.

2 replies on “The Man Who Helped Mike Napoli Sign For Above Midpoint”

Above the midpoint, sounds like a good deal, but it doesnt mean it is a good deal. The players filing number could have been low, thus creating a lower midpoint. Or the team’s midpoint could have come in lower than expected for where Napoli figured to be. If you go in depth on MANY below midpoint deals, the midpoint in those was likely strategically raised by a higher submission by the player (usually with a team who doesnt like to go to a hearing). Thus a win/win situation is created when a player submits high, but settles under, for an amount better than his comparable player(s), but the team is happy as it settled below midpoint. This article is not a complete understanding of how the arbitration process works from both sides.


You make very valid points. One thing to consider is that rival agents will use another player’s signing below the midpoint as a recruiting tool against that player’s agent when trying to pick up future clients who will be arbitration eligible. This is not necessarily a practice that should be employed; however, it would be nieve to think that it is never used by competitors.

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