Interview with Metis Sports Management president and agent Storm Kirschenbaum
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Through The Fence Baseball recently sat down with Metis Sports Management President Storm Kirschenbaum. Storm is the agent of one of our writers, Dan Taylor, and formed MSM in July 2007. He’s represented over 140 professional athletes and is a MLBPA Certified Player Agent. Additionally, he is a contract advisor in both the CFL and NFL. Storm has a storied baseball career, as well, that has landed him stops at Long Island and University of Florida where he played along side teammates David Eckstein, Brad Wilkerson, Mark Ellis and Josh Fogg. For more information about MSM and Storm, Click Here, or email us at Throughthefencebaseball@gmail.com.
Let’s get the ball rolling.
Through The Fence Baseball: The trade deadline was hectic this year, what was it like?
Intense. There are usually two scenarios that I see during the trade deadline period: One, my client isn’t happy with his situation in the organization and is looking for a change of scenery; or two, he is being sought after by several teams to strengthen their depth at his position. I had two players this year that fell into both situations.
My first client, had two years of major league service time, but found himself in AA because the General Manager decided to entertain other pitchers in both the Majors and at the AAA level. My client went into spring training competing for a starting rotation spot and was told he put on too much weight during the off-season and was sent to extended spring training to get on a weight loss program. The team was very adamant that if he satisfied their “program” he would find himself back in the big leagues. After 30 days in extended spring training my client lost weight and was throwing at an all-time high in velocity. We were told he would go to AA and then move his way up through the organization to compete again for a starting rotation job. After dominating AA for over 2 months, he was told that he had no chance of winning a big league starter job AND there was no room in AAA for him. Obviously, my client was not happy after fulfilling all of their demands and wanted to find a new organization. We requested a trade and the team granted us permission to speak to other clubs to find a match.
We found several good locations; however, his current team was not in a hurry to answer the trade requests. They felt it was a better situation that my client stay within the organization and become a “safety blanket” incase their AAA or ML starters went down with an injury. We voiced our displeasure with this request; however, at the end of the day, he is under contract with the Club and our hands were considerably tied. I instructed my client that I would do my best to make sure he would not be placed on the 40 man roster at the end of the season and get locked in for next year. We did not want to come back to the same team next season and he was a free agent at the end of the year, so we knew he would be entertaining numerous offers during free agency. He is having his best season in baseball and will be a top of the line free agent at the end of the season. Unfortunately, he is stuck playing for a team that doesn’t see him as a long term rotational starter and is basically being used by the Club because they have contractual control. This was a disappointing trading deadline situation, however, we feel like he will be in a very good place come 2012.
My other client was having his best season ever, and was being sought after by numerous clubs to provide depth at catcher. This client had less than one year of service time, but was a AAA All-Star three years in a row. He was a free agent after last season and was offered a contract by a Club that was 20 minutes from his hometown. He had dreams of playing for his hometown team, even though he knew he would start the season in AAA and be the third catcher in the organization. We received calls from five teams during the trading deadline and we seriously looked at each scenario. My client was given confirmation by his current club that he would be a candidate to get called up this season and also would be the front-runner to be the back up catcher in the big leagues next season. His current club did not want to see him go and they were very comfortable with his prospects in their organization.
While we were flattered by the interest from other teams, all parties felt he would be better off staying on his hometown team and reject the trade requests by the other teams. This situation could have put him in the big leagues a month sooner, however, staying with his current team was in his long-term best interest. This client is currently playing extremely well and will be called up in September when rosters expand. He will be competing for the back-up catcher role next season if he decides to stay with his current team, but may elect to test the free agent market once the season ends.
TTFB: In recent memory, there’s been some interesting things negotiated into contracts. (Roy Oswalt – bulldozer) What’s the most interesting thing that you’ve negotiated into a contract?
I haven’t had a need to put in a bulldozer quite yet; however, I have negotiated some interesting terms. We have negotiated mandatory interpreters for foreign players, plane tickets for family members to attend games and a player’s favorite cell phone model. Most contracts are cut and dry and stay within the parameters of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, so there are very few contracts that see those “special” off the wall requests.
TTFB: At what point did you decide you wanted to become an agent and what does it take to be one?
My turning point to become an agent happened while I was while playing college baseball at Long Island University. I had come to the difficult conclusion that I would personally never play Major League Baseball, because I lacked arm strength and size. I was always a good hitter, but never found a position (I played OF and was converted into a catcher my senior year). I applied to several law schools during my senior season and decided on University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. I was born and raised in Michigan and was looking forward to moving back home. I started to contact several agents I knew and was using them as mentors to provide me an idea on how to become an agent and some of the finer details in the industry.
I had several friends get drafted in the MLB Draft and asked if I could represent them. I was lucky they liked me enough to give me this opportunity, considering I was 21 years old and knew very little in how to negotiate a contract. During my first year in law school, I started my own agency while I was a full-time student. I represented 10 minor league baseball players in law school and it eventually spun into more clients once I graduated and was hired by a law firm to start a sports division. After 3 years with this law firm I was given an opportunity to start my own agency and began Metis Sports Management, LLC. We are in our fourth year and have become one of the fastest growing agencies in the country.
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