LONG BEACH— After 40 plus years in baseball with at least two teams, John Schuerholz knows the business.
He knows what’s right. What’s ethical. What is expected in the sport. When an agreement is an agreement. And when an asshole is an asshole.
Rafeal Furcal was to be signed by the Braves, even if it didn’t make much sense. The drama went down on the front sports pages of every paper in America. The agent of Furcal agreed to the deal and requested the contract be sent for signing. At that point he immediately went to another team and asked them to equal or better the deal. Dirty. Dirty, dirty, dirty.
I’ve run into some Dodger fans that say “I love it.” Or “Awesome.” A simple change of positions and they’d be screaming bloody murder. Everyone knows what the agents of Furcal did was unethical. Some favor it because the dirty deeds landed a broke-back short stop on their favorite team.
But today John Schuerholz laid it all out there for the world to see. He called out the agency. He has banned them from any future dealings with the Braves. Not even the blood sucking agent Scott Boras has sunk this low. Schuerholz didn’t like working with Boras, but he never banned his players from being on the Braves.
Today Schuerholz’s statements were published in the AJC. Below is the article:
Livid Schuerholz: Furcal dealings ‘despicable’
Braves’ president says team will never do business with player agency again
By JEFF SCHULTZ | Thursday, December 18, 2008
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
If Rafael Furcal’s decision to renege on a verbal agreement with the Braves was the biggest jolt of the team’s dreadful winter, this must be the aftershock.
John Schuerholz, the Braves’ president and long-time former general manager, Thursday called the dealings of Furcal’s agents “despicable” and “disgusting” and said the franchise would no longer entertain signing players represented by them, ever.
“Having been in this business for 40-some years, I’ve never seen anybody treated like that,” Schuerholz said. “The Atlanta Braves will no longer do business with that company — ever. I told [agent] Arn Tellem that we can’t trust them to be honest and forthright. I told him that in all my years, I’ve never seen any [agency] act in such a despicable manner.
“It was disgusting and unprofessional. We’re a proud organization and we won’t allow ourselves to be treated that way. I advised Arn Tellem that whatever players he represents, just scratch us off the list. Take the name of the Atlanta Braves off their speed dial. They can deal with the other 29 clubs and we’ll deal with the other hundred agents.”
Tellem, the lead agent in the Wasserman Media Group, did not return messages Thursday. Paul Kinzer, who works for Tellem and handled negotiations with Braves general manager Frank Wren, has not returned several messages left by the Journal-Constitution in recent days. The Wasserman agency lists more than 60 baseball clients on its website, including several stars.
The Braves believed they had reached an agreement with Furcal on a three-year, $30 million contract with a fourth year vesting option. At Kinzer’s request, they faxed the agent a term sheet Tuesday morning for Furcal’s signature. A term sheet is considered the final step of negotiations. But Kinzer took the offer back to Los Angeles and used it as leverage.
Schuerholz said he phoned Tellem Wednesday night.
“I expressed my great disappointment to him,” he said. “I watched as Frank shared with me the circumstances of his negotiations with Furcal — negotiations to the point where we increased our offer and he [Kinzer] then asked for a signed term sheet to be sent over. We never got that signed term sheet faxed back to us and we later found out why — because they took that offer and shopped it.”
When asked about Tellem’s reaction, Schuerholz said: “He was surprised. He tried to explain himself. He said he had nothing to do with it — it was the work of Paul Kinzer. I reminded him that [Kinzer] works for him and he has to stand behind the people who work for him. I told him I was making this official, and I was going to make it public.”
This makes me happy. I like the man standing up and calling it like it is. I like it even more because it means Randy Wolf has no chance of being an Atlanta Brave. Two birds with one stone.