A few weeks ago I was in Miami, and then Atlanta, following the Brewers so I could watch Jeremy Jeffress throw. Miami was uneventful—he did not throw in the entire series—but Atlanta was a fun trip. JJ hit 98 once, had a couplegood outings and I was glad to have spent time with him. This has been such a rewarding season, and I still think the best is yet to come for JJ.
Sometimes, doing the right thing means not taking another agent's client. Sometimes, though, doing the right thing means the opposite.
I just spent three days in Miami with Jeremy Jeffress and ran into several agents I knew. Many of them I quite like. A few I do not. One told me it’s "dumb" to tweet about clients because it makes it that much easier for other agents to "poach" my guys. I agree, but I feel like I am an outlier (or crazy, or both). I mean, I’m public enough that everyone knows my guys, and really I stopped caring in 2010. If guys are going to leave me, then they're going to leave. Twitter will not change that. I am going to promote the hell out of my clients and do right by all of them. I can’t live my life worrying about what other agents do.
Joshua finds a book of interesting stories, then an interesting story in the flesh, as he job takes him to unexpected places.
Since my last column, I have had many opportunities to celebrate during this young season: Jeremy Jeffress is six for six in saves, and in his arb year no less; Steve Clevenger has finally found some stability, on the Mariners’ 25-man roster; Carlos Asuaje is hammering for the Padres’ Triple-A affiliate, and seems to be right on the verge of making it. It’s been a nice season thus far, beginning with an odd day I spent in Arizona.
Saying goodbye to one of the good guys around the game.
I celebrated my three-year anniversary the other day, and it occurs to me that I might never have gotten to this point if not for a very good friend. Of course, none of us is where we are now without the support of very good friends. I lost one such friend this week. Juan C. Rodriguez, who had been a Marlins beat writer since 2002, passed away after a lengthy battle with brain cancer. I don’t want to get bogged down in Juan’s passing. It’s too fresh for everyone, and far too painful. Instead, I want to share some memories of my good friend.
Why 2016 looks to be such a momentous one for Joshua and two of his clients.
There went 2015. Work was, as it always is, a total grind, but this was a tremendously fulfilling year for me, personally and professionally. Some of my clients had tremendous seasons, and some called it a career. There were downs in my family life—my grandmother, the artist Lee Silton, who knew (and perhaps dated!) Meyer Lansky, has been battling cancer. There were also ups—my surgery in January, which I documented here, led to my healthiest year in forever.
The winter meetings start today, and besides preparing for that I’ve had a lot going on: K-Rod was traded, so Jeremy Jeffress is in the mix to be the closer in Milwaukee; Seth Lugo was added to the 40-man roster, and Carlos Asuaje was part of the Craig Kimbrel deal. I had three free agents signed (Jiwan James, Jaye Chapman, and Jim Miller). Which is all to say I haven’t had much time to write, but sometimes the topics write themselves. This one is about Steve Clevenger and the week he has had.
The game-attending part of my season ended last week. The Brewers were in to face my hometown Marlins, so I got to spend three wonderful days with one of my favorite people, Jeremy Jeffress. What sort of wild partying does an agent do when he gets to spend three days with a millionaire pro athlete in Key Biscayne? Tax talk! Endorsement deals! Prep for the winter meetings! Setting up meetings in other cities! Discussion about the rising league-minimum salary! It was like the Star Wars prequel scrolls. No lavish parties at LIV or Blue Martini; just a work trip, as it always is, as it always will be.
An agent explains why good makeup adds so much value to a prospect.
People ask me all the time how I find late-round gems, the sort of players who ultimately overtake higher-round talent and become the more famous names on my client list. Here’s the secret I’ve learned from people far smarter than I am: Everybody in pro ball has talent to a degree, and most big leaguers played against hundreds of guys more talented than them. It’s makeup that separates the ones who make it from the ones who don’t. I’ve made many mistakes in my career, but I would venture to guess that the best decision I ever made was to change the way I ran my business, to change the way I scouted: From around 2011 onward, I didn’t scout for ability anymore, or at least primarily ability. I scouted for makeup. If I could believe in the person, I could believe in the player.
The games that remind Joshua that baseball's not just a job after all.
The past month took a huge toll on me physically. Work kicked my ass—I had seven clients make MiLB all-star games. Tyler White, whom many of you know from this column, won the Texas League HR derby and was promoted to Triple-A, where he is hitting .372 in his first 24 games. He has a real shot to play in the big leagues this season, and still has more walks than strikeouts in his career. Beyond that I had a draft experience with Justin Garcia, a 21-year-old outfielder who went to the Astros in the 17th round. And, for great measure, I saw Carlos Carrasco nearly throw a no-hitter.