Photo: AP Images
When Cliff Lee agreed to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies for $120 million, his agent, Darek Braunecker came away a rich man himself, reeling in somewhere between $4 and $6 million.Of course, had Lee accepted the Yankees’ offer, Braunecker would have earned millions more.
But he’s probably not thinking of what might have been. In fact, he should be focused on getting new clients by now. The drawn out Cliff Lee contract negotiation only raised Braunecker’s profile, the New York Times notes.
In the past, Scott Boras was the only agent to make waves in the news for his negotiation tactics. This offseason, two more agents joined the club: Braunecker and Casey Close, Derek Jeter’s agent. And while the messy negotiations between Close and the Yankees may ultimately tarnish the agent’s image, the Cliff Lee negotiations painted Braunecker as a shrewd negotiator.
Rather than allow Lee to be the first to sign this offseason – as we presumed he would – he remained patient while other free agents signed and the market exploded. Teams determined to wait on Lee suddenly saw their “Plan Bs” put other jerseys on. Then he leveraged Lee’s two biggest suitors against one another.
Granted, Lee ended up taking a smaller offer than the one Braunecker engineered for him. But the Phillies went to unprecedented lengths – going beyond their self-imposed three year limit, offering the greatest average annual salary – to sign Cliff Lee. Braunecker poached more money from the team Lee apparently wanted to sign with all along.
You better believe young superstars looking for representation took notice.
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