Normally, a player serving as his own agent carries the potential to end up with two very base results: One, of course, is an under-market deal with forgotten perks and othermissed extras. The other is hurt feelings.
Even Princeton product Chris Young, a very smart guy, who represented himself, probably would have been better served having someone else serve him. Young wound up with a contract that guarantees him only $675,000 with the Royals (though possibly millions more in roster bonuses and incentives) after going 13-9 with a 3.65 ERA with the Mariners last year. Now Young probably wasn’t as good as his main numbers in pitching-friendly Safeco Field, but you’d have to wonder whether an experienced agent, with contacts, experience and time (not to mention all the right phone numbers) could have done better.
But Street is a different story.
He is a very successful real-estate investor in his hometown of Austin. He has the right attitude and temperament for it. He doesn’t need the money.
A couple comparable relievers in David Robertson and Andrew Miller set a free-agent bar this winter and at least provided some guidance (though Street is still a year away from free agency, and at 31 is a bit older than those two pitchers). So that helps, too. And, as one Angels person pointed out, considering the real estate deals in that red-hot Austin market, he is used to big numbers.
Street also happens to have a special client coming off an exceptional season, which doesn’t hurt. Street had a career-best 1.37 ERA while converting 41 of 44 save opportunities in 2014 for the Padres and Angels. In his career, he has 275 saves and only 44 blown saves. And he has a 2.82 career ERA despite pitching three seasons in Colorado.
The other thing that separates Street is that he is no fool.
He said if it doesn’t have to happen now in spring training with the Angels. He said they would need to have the “meat and potatoes” part of the deal done by opening day to make it work. He doesn’t mind crossing some T’s and dotting some I’s once the season starts, but he prefers not to do any heavy lifting during the season.
Street also said he is not about to represent himself in the free-agent market this winter. If it comes to that, he said he would entrust Bill Stapleton, a noted Austin lawyer who has represented Lance Armstrong, another famed Austin athlete.
“Talking to one team is very different than talking to 30 teams,” Street said.
For now, it’s merely Street and Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto, himself a former reliever. The two talked throughout the winter and continue to talk when they got here. Though they don’t have a deal yet, Street is pleased with how things are going.
“Things have been pretty straightforward up to this point,” Street said. “They’ve been very easy to talk to, and I’ve enjoyed the process. … You try to have progress, and at the end of the day, you hope you see eye-to-eye.”
So far, so good, he said. Talks, Street said, “are moving in the right direction,” though he stressed there’s “nothing concrete” as of yet.
Dipoto said they’ve had a series of conversations, mostly about pitching approaches, with just a bit of talk about the future mixed in. The results seem to be somewhat encouraging so far.
“There’s mutual interest,” Dipoto said. “He understands where we are, and we understand where he is. He’s a big part of what we’re doing. But it’s not going to happen today or tomorrow.”
And if it takes past the day after, that will be all right, too.
“Baseball has been incredible for me. I’ve made incredible money,” Street noted. “There’s no reason I’d have to panic.”
The word panic isn’t in this closer’s vocabulary, anyway. But there’s really no need to in this case. He wants to stay with the Angels but he knows there are advantages to free agency, too. He saw Robertson get $46 million for four years with the White Sox, and Andrew Miller, a non-closer, get $36 million for four from the Yankees.
That said, there’s a risk in taking it to free agency, especially if he becomes a reliever with a qualifying offer attached (as Robertson was). And he understands the Angels have a puzzle to fill out, with other issues and needs.
“You have to be fair to them,” Street said.
Street made one fair deal already for himself, a $14-million, two-year Padres deal with a $7-million team option a couple years ago. He said he heard some criticism that that was a “team-friendly” deal after he agreed to it. But he also recalled that he hurt his calf two weeks later. He also doesn’t really care; if he agrees, he said, that means he is happy and content with the deal.
Street went into the self-representation business, after breaking with his original agents, the Hendricks Brothers, a former big-time agency that’s lost almost all its clients in recent year. (Street declined to say why he left).
In any case, he is loving his second baseball role.
“One of the main reasons I always wanted to do it on my own is I am love with the business of baseball,” Street said.
If this works out as he hopes, he may love it even more.
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