Scot Drucker is a former professional baseball player who pitched for seven seasons before deciding to retire and enter the world of player representation and becoming an agent.
I talk to many different people within the game of baseball and even more that aren’t and one question that gets asked a lot, especially during the offseason, is what exactly do agents do? Is it really just negotiating contracts and nothing else? Surely agents do more than that, right? I had the opportunity to speak with Scot Drucker, an agent from Paragon Sports International, and he provided me with some phenomenal insight into the world of sports agents and what they actually do beyond negotiating contracts and making money for their clients.
On what agents actually do.
There’s a mix of everything from taking care of something a player needs, if they’re moving in the offseason you could help them ship a car or close out a lease. You help take care of documents or closing out accounts. Once the offseason begins that’s when we start to get together our lists of potential free agents from the minor leagues and the major leagues, and then of course arbitration. Getting arbitration hearings together and the data and the work that gets put into that is immeasurable.
Anything from contractual, financial stuff, legal documents, and preparing for everything else it’s a full season really. It’s moving on from the regular season to the playoffs, then free agency and the winter meetings where we are trying to get our guys onto new teams or re-signing with their existing one. There are also endorsement deals to deal with because that’s when a lot of the endorsement stuff from cleats to shoes or Topps and Upper Deck are done. Then of course there is the matter of winter ball jobs.
On being an extension of a player’s family.
Another part of our job is to be an extension of their family first and foremost, to help the family understand the process from the steps of amateurism; being an advisor and helping families understand the draft process. Then as they progress into the minor leagues to teach them what the minor leagues are all about; how you’re only going to make $1,100 dollar a month. Are you ready to leave home?
Then into pro ball and teaching the guys all about options and the 40-man roster, tendered contracts, outrights, and all the different wording and terminologies. Then once they’re in the big leagues salary arbitration is up next and free agency. It’s a big learning process for the player, the family, and us to help them understand and keep them in the loop of everything.
On the game being global and players having success overseas.
For players who are free agents and are having a hard time finding a job we get them into winter ball leagues and they perform well and then they can possibly sign with a major league team, but if not then we have a lot of connections and could possibly get them a job with a team in Asia. This game is global now and we have clients in Taiwan, Korea, and Japan. You can make some nice money over there and a lot of U.S. players are tending to do. As much as they’d love to play in the States they also have to look out for their financial security, so we help alleviate that and get them opportunities overseas.
It used to be that players were worried that they would go to Japan and get forgotten about by teams in the States but that’s not the case these days. Almost every team has an Asia/Pacific-Rim scout and you will be seen and followed up upon. It’s very good for the sport I think and there are opportunities to play all over the world now.
On being honest with players about where they are in their careers.
Our job is to keep guys happy and also to be humble and honest with them more than anything. Realizing where they are in their careers; are they a cup of coffee guy over here or can they make 400-500k overseas? It’s hard to tell a guy you can’t make it into the big leagues here but you’re 30-plus years old, you’re an up-and-down guy and you’re going to make maybe $160k over here but we can help you get $400k guaranteed in Japan for your first year and then maybe you can parlay that into a bigger contract.
On being a former player and whether it helped him take on the role of an agent.
I believe so, yeah definitely. Even though I didn’t make it to the big leagues I’ve played all over this world with it, I’ve been in the locker room, I’ve been around great guys, I’ve been around close friends who were first picks overall, and I’ve been around guys who were drafted in the 40th round that have made it to the big leagues. And I still have great connections with ex-teammates who are just friends of mine where I’m not even trying to bring them on as clients.
But yeah, I think it’s really helped with the dynamic of my partner who has been in the business for about 15 years and his legal background, as well as just his background of being a player agent for x amount of years and then bringing me in as an ex-player.
On how to get started in the field of being an agent for players.
It’s tough; I’ve heard so many different stories. My partner actually started when he was in law school; there was a guy on the baseball team that he was friends with and said he was getting drafted so that was his route into it. My route – Brian who I’m working for was my agent when I was playing so he always knew I had a knack for the business savvy side of the game, my connections, and I guess my personality.
When I was a player I used to always go to the winter meetings and it was unheard of whether you’re a big leaguer or a minor leaguer and it was just my interest in the game, I knew my career would eventually come to an end – sooner than I expected, but I always wanted to stay involved in the game somehow on the business side. I really understood it and enjoyed it and was always learning from it. That was my way in and when I told my agent at the time that I want to step away from the game and retire, he was like “hey, by the way, would you care to work for me?” and one thing led to another and hit the ground running for the last year and a half now.
On what to do if you don’t have the connections for an easy in to being an agent.
I would definitely say, whether it’s sport or entertainment, just to get some kind of internship or work as an understudy or apprentice with an actual agent. If you’re into baseball but basketball is the only thing available in your area then take that. The basic premise is that you’re doing the same thing in a way.
If you’re really into baseball then just go to baseball games and there will be scouts, agents, and whatnot. Just start picking brains; that’s the biggest thing to really get out there into the field yourself and see if you like it. It’s a grind; it’s the one thing I do tell my friends. It’s no Jerry Maguire and I know I’ve heard that a lot in many interviews. It can be a lucrative job in business but it is a job more than anything and you have to start from the ground up. It’s a tough business and it takes a lot of heart poured into it and a lot of emotion.
On his favorite part about being an agent.
My favorite part right now is covering the amateur stuff because it’s really nice just being around the field and scouting and recruiting in a way. I may look like a scout out there sometimes but to me I want to do my own homework. I want to see a player, write my own notes, and then use a reference online and say “hey, we’re on the same page”. I don’t want to just take out a Baseball America and look at the top prospects and then go watch them.
On why anyone should choose Paragon Sports International over any other agency.
We’re not a huge or small firm. We’re a medium sized firm where you’re going to be able to have one on one time with clients and people. We have three great offices in three great areas. The biggest thing is we’re not one of these factory systems on the client end or employment end of things. We have a great group of people and you get to be yourself.
It’s easy to go with the traditional line of thought that all agents and agencies are only out to make a buck and they don’t care what happens to their clients after they get paid. As far as Scot and Paragon is concerned that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Many of us only ever hear about the Scott Boras’s of the world because it is those types of stories and contracts that ESPN prefers to talk about. The big-time agent with his mega-suite and 40 cellphones, but that’s not how the sports agent world actually is.
In reality, agents like Scot and agencies like PSI do exist and they are easy to forget about because they don’t find themselves constantly in the news the way the Boras Corporation does. There’s a good reason for that though; it’s because they care more about the needs of their clients and doing right by them as opposed to having the headlines be about them and the many different teams they may or may not be rumored to have had discussions with in regards to their clients.
I’m happy that I had the opportunity to speak with Scot and get to know a great deal more about how agents and agencies actually operate. I’m glad that I was able to put together a more realistic representation of this side of baseball, a side that most people aren’t even aware of. Becoming a sports agent isn’t like it is in Jerry Maguire or any other show you might see on television. It’s a role that requires a lot of dedication, preparation, and a desire to represent your clients to the fullest.
Needless to say, after everything that I’ve learned about Scot and PSI, the misconceptions that Scot helped clear up, and now knowing what it takes to get into this line of work – I’m comfortable saying that if I were a player in need of an agent then I wouldn’t hesitate to give Scot or PSI a call. But I’m not a player so that really only leaves one option which is to give them a call one day if I ever want to leave the sports reporting and media world behind and represent players.