Baseball Negotiations that End in a Crime Scene



Talking negotiations on opening day might sound crazy, but the idea of having an agent as your career progresses allows Players to focus on their preparation and performance.

Focusing on both can become emotional, which inspires problems.  Do you remember the Seinfeld episode when Kramer jumped in front of the negotiation process and agreed to a horrible deal?

Some players like the idea of being at the forefront.  Personally, this is rarely a good idea.  When simulated many times beforehand, maybe it can work.  But, there is still a risk.

Thus, allow me an opportunity to share a quick anecdote to help players avoid a similar crime scene like that described below.

Negotiations:  One Bad Day

I will never forget the day a Client was adamant about joining the negotiation process versus waiting until an agreement had been reached in principle.

The scene of the crime occurred at a prominent restaurant on a cold day in December.  The owner wanted an opportunity to “talk things out”.  The issue was money upfront and a personal guarantee.  I was feeling good and my Client understood the risks of meeting with the owner face-to-face.  Unfortunately, I trusted my Client’s game face way to much.

Prior to the meeting, I practiced with my Client.  First, I pretended I was the owner and related actors.  Next, we discussed problem areas.  Then, we locked into a plan concerning price and years.  Finally, we did it again and again until our process was perfected.  Seemed easy, right?

Before the server could bring us water, the owner had identified a price and my Client had enthusiastically yelled yes!  My Client didn’t skip a beat.  They didn’t look at me for advisement, they didn’t ask their spouse and they didn’t think about the ramifications.  They heard something they liked and dove in headfirst.

In my mind, this particular negotiations turned into a crime scene because my Client was emotionally vested and refused to believe it could happen to them.  Every lost dollar or season is blood shed.  My Client lost money.  Months later, my Client was upset that they had entered into the contract at the price they agreed upon.

Unfortunately, they damage had been done.  Luckily, you can learn from this.

Negotiations: Lesson Learned

I think players at all levels can see the comedic element in Seinfeld.  Few players see themselves acting in that same manner, but it happens.

As a result, I believe the best process is to conduct the same process you have seen in player showcases:

  • Until absolutely necessary, refuse all dialogue with an adversary or Club you are not under contract with,
  • Always give yourself a buffer to think about any expressed offer, and
  • Baseball contract negotiations is a calculated process.
  • Players have the ability to pause, step away and seek non vested advisement.

I wish you the very best in your negotiations.