SBJ/July 21-27, 2014/Labor and Agents

Agent puts smarts from the ballpark to work at Wasserman

Ask Jody Gerut to explain the difference between being a player and being an agent, and the former MLB outfielder-turned-agent uses snorkeling as an analogy. 

“If you haven’t gone underneath, the landscape is uniformly water; it’s the same,” Gerut said recently. “That’s being a player. An agent would be putting on the mask and looking down, beneath the water, and realizing the frenetic pace of the activity and the things that are going on beneath the same landscape that you [as players] are seeing as normal and calm.”

Gerut

Gerut has been working in Wasserman Media Group’s baseball division for almost two years now and he works with five clients, including highly touted Boston Red Sox rookie Mookie Betts. Gerut is quick to point out that he is not the primary contract agent for any of the players but he is, as he calls it, the “day-to-day” guy for the players, which means he does everything for them other than contract work.

He relishes his role. “I love it,” he said. 

Gerut’s other players are minor leaguers: utility player Colin Walsh and right-handed pitcher Zach Petrick in the St. Louis Cardinals organization; catcher Brandon Brosher in the New York Mets system; and Touki Toussaint, a right-handed pitcher who was the first-round pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks last month. 

“I have to be the first agent in the history of sports agenting that has a Touki and a Mookie,” Gerut said. “I seriously doubt there has been a Touki and a Mookie with the same guy doing the work.”

Gerut graduated from Stanford with a degree in history. As a player, he was named AL Rookie of the Year by Sporting News in 2003 while with the Cleveland Indians before retiring in 2011. 

Sporting News also named him one of the 20 smartest athletes in sports in 2010. That was true to form in a telephone interview last week from the MLB All-Star Game, as Gerut was witty and engaging in talking about his new role.

After he retired, he set out to become an agent and talked to lawyers at the MLB Players Association and a former MLB club general manager, talking about “what makes a great agent,” he said. During his playing career, Gerut was represented by Reich, Katz & Landis and later by Craig Landis. He also talked to Adam Katz, Wasserman’s executive vice president of baseball, who hired him. 

Arn Tellem, a veteran MLB and NBA agent and vice chairman of Wasserman, said Gerut is a rising star. “He has incredible people skills and judgment and is on his way to being a premier agent in this business,” Tellem said. “Not only that, he knows the game.” 

Now, he’s learning the agent game, and Gerut said he is well aware that part of that involves other agents trying to lure clients away. 

“The competitive nature of the business is an agent’s greatest monitor,” Gerut said. “You have to be on your game when you represent great players because there are so few great players you can’t afford to not be aware and be in tune.” 

> CAA SIGNS PACIORETTY: CAA Sports has signed Montreal Canadiens left wing Max Pacioretty for representation on and off the ice. A team of agents at CAA Sports, led by Pat Brisson, Jim Nice and Judd Moldaver, will represent him. He was formerly represented by Alec Schall of Legacy Global Sports

“I have enjoyed a successful partnership with Max since he became a professional hockey player,” Schall wrote in an email. “While Max has new representation, he remains a close friend, and we maintain a positive working relationship. I will continue to assist Max for the duration of his career and beyond.”

> IMG SIGNS REFEREE CAREY: IMG has signed former NFL referee-turned-broadcaster Mike Carey and negotiated his deal as an analyst for CBS’s “Thursday Night Football.” At IMG, he will be represented by Sandy Montag, senior corporate vice president and head of clients. In addition to broadcasting work, IMG will represent Carey for speaking work. Carey previously was without representation. 

> WASSERMAN SIGNS BERNSTEIN: Wasserman Media Group has signed sports broadcaster Bonnie Bernstein, who is currently a host on digital network Campus Insiders. She will be represented by Debbie Spander, vice president of broadcasting. Bernstein formerly was represented by Playbook Inc. 

Liz Mullen can be reached at lmullen@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @SBJLizMullen

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