SBJ/May 23-29, 2011/Labor and Agents

Agent's stake in Yankees draws attention

The MLB Players Association, which passed new, more expansive agent regulations last year, is reviewing among a number of agents’ applications for recertification the filing of Bill Rose, a certified agent who has long held a small ownership stake in the New York Yankees, according to a union source.

Agents had to reapply for certification under the new regulations, which aimed to address various concerns that had been raised by players and agents. Though a number of applications have been approved, a number have not.

Both the new and old regulations prohibit conflicts of interest, including the conflict of representing players and holding a financial interest in Major League Baseball or an MLB club. It was unclear if that is why Rose’s application was being reviewed.

Rose, who inherited his interest in the Yankees from his father in 1996, has been certified as an agent since 2002, but the fact that he’s also been a limited partner with the Yankees was not well-known. The recent revelation has caused a stir in the agent community.

Rose said the interest in his situation is because he started representing “some decent players” in recent years. His clients include pitchers Chris Volstad and Jeffrey Karstens. Additionally, a few years ago, he became partners with MLB agent Mike Moye, whose clients include Josh Hamilton and Todd Helton.

“Nobody cared about it when I didn’t represent anyone,” Rose said. “Once you become a competitor, which I have become in recent years, things change.”

Gene Orza, who retired as MLBPA’s chief operating officer in March, agreed with Rose’s assessment and said his ownership stake in the Yankees was being raised by rival agents. “They are not concerned about the conflict-of-interest issue. What they care about is the competition issue,” he said. “[Rose] has never done anything in the slightest to prove he represents the interest of the clubs instead of the players.”

It was not clear if Rose’s or the other agents’ applications being reviewed would be accepted under the new rules. The union can grant the new certification with conditions or limitations.

MLB also has a general conflict-of-interest policy regarding club owners having interests in players.

Rob Manfred, MLB executive vice president of labor, said baseball has been aware that Rose is an MLBPA-certified agent. “There is a technical conflict,” Manfred said, “but the size of ownership is so small we did not make an issue of it.”

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