Dexter Fowler re-signed with the Chicago Cubs on a one-year deal, with a mutual option for a second, earlier today. That was a bit surprising, because just two days ago it was widely reported that he’d agreed to a three-year deal with the Baltimore Orioles.
After Fowler re-signed his agent Casey Close—who is one of the most powerful agents in the sport—released a statement blasting the Orioles front office for leaking word of an agreement, and the baseball media for reporting it. According to Close there never was an agreement, and furthermore, Fowler “did not come close” to signing:
Close asserts maliciousness on the part of the Orioles, and you can certainly imagine a scenario in which the team leaks word of an almost complete deal to scare off other suitors, and pressure Fowler to sign. But it’s just as likely that some assistant GM innocently told reporters, “Yeah, we got it done” a little bit too soon.
With the warp speed at which the news cycle moves, and the intense competition among reporters to break even unimportant incremental scoops, situations like this seem to occur more frequently. The trigger for when to report a signing has moved earlier, from completion of a physical, to a signed agreement pending a physical, to a verbal agreement, to a nearly complete agreement.
Though Close’s statement is about as strong as you’ll ever see, I’d be willing to bet he leaks and benefits from leaks as much as or more than anybody else. He and his client just happened to get burned this time.
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