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On To The Next One: Francisco Rodriguez

Francisco Rodriguez, better known as K-Rod, is currently performing under a 3-year, $37 million contract that he signed with the New York Mets in 2008. If K-Rod closes 55 or more games this season, he will stay with the Mets in 2012 and earn a total of $17.5 million for that one year of service. No closer has ever earned that much money in a single year. If he cannot close out 55 or more games, K-Rod will still earn $3.5 million in a buyout and become a free agent. That 55 game clause was negotiated by his former agent, Paul Kinzer of Wasserman Media Group. It is looking like K-Rod will come close to the 55 game mark, as long as he stays healthy for the rest of the 2011 season.

But recently, K-Rod started thinking about what will happen if he does not close out 55 or more games this year. As a free agent, Kinzer would be back at the drawing board, talking to various teams and trying to put together a good deal for his client. However, K-Rod was not sure that he wanted Kinzer to be in charge of those negotiations.

Last week, Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal found out that K-Rod was talking to Mets players who were represented by Scott Boras and asking those players what they thought about the services he provides. Further, other agents had been in contact with the Mets closer. Usually, when a player is asked about whether he is considering dropping his agent for a rival, that player will say no, even if he is secretly weighing his options. When K-Rod was asked whether he was considering making a switch to Boras, he stated, “That’s something, I cannot say that. I’m not going to answer that.” That was the first bad sign for Kinzer, who had told the Wall Street Journal that he had spoken to his client several times that week and received no indication that K-Rod was about to switch agents.

Over the weekend, K-Rod switched from Kinzer to Boras. The move certainly has to sting Kinzer, who said the following to the Wall Street Journal prior to his former client officially making the jump to Boras Corp.:

“It’s a sad part of the business. I’m not out trying to take everybody else’s players. I sign new players, but when I do, usually my players bring them to me. I don’t attack them whenever they come into L.A.”

Do not expect to find Kinzer and Boras at the same dinner table any time soon.

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.