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Volume 21 No. 1
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Acquisition of CSMG pays off for Octagon by way of Venezuela

Liz Mullen
When pitcher Felix Hernandez signed a seven-year, $175 million extension with the Seattle Mariners, it made headlines because he became the highest-paid pitcher in Major League Baseball. For his agents at Octagon, the deal was the result of years of work put into identifying and representing talent from Venezuela. It also represents one of the fruits of the agency’s 2008 decision to acquire the baseball practice of the former CSMG.
Octagon MLB player agents Scott Pucino, Wil Polidor and Jose Mijares negotiated the deal with the Mariners that will pay the 2010 Cy Young Award winner $25 million a year. They signed Hernandez when he was 16, and Pucino remembers, “When Felix was 16, Wil saw him and said, ‘I saw a kid throwing you would not believe.’”
Octagon client Felix Hernandez signed a deal making him the highest-paid MLB pitcher.
Said Polidor, a former minor league baseball player and a native of Venezuela, “For 13 years, we were working in Venezuela, and it is starting to pay off.”
CSMG hired Polidor and Mijares in 2000, and they joined Pucino, who was already there. The three then joined Octagon as part of the 2008 acquisition.
Octagon represents about 30 baseball players from Venezuela, including about 20 major leaguers and 10 minor leaguers or prospects. Those Venezuelan clients, who came over as part of the CSMG acquisition, include Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero, who agreed to a five-year, $60 million deal during the 2012 season, and Detroit Tigers slugger Victor Martinez, who agreed to a four-year, $50 million free agent deal in 2010. Octagon also represents Cleveland Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and Tigers second baseman Omar Infante, both from Venezuela.

Alan Nero, the founder of the former CSMG, serves as managing director of Octagon Baseball, and Pucino, serves as senior director. Nero was one of the first major baseball agents in the U.S. to focus on Venezuela, dating back more than a dozen years. In addition to about 30 Venezuelan players, Octagon represents about 50 baseball players from the U.S. and another 20 from Asia.

The sports talent business is rife with stories of acquisitions that didn’t work out, but that is not the case with Octagon’s purchase of the CSMG baseball practice, Nero said. It will be five years this fall since Octagon acquired the CSMG practice, and the core group of clients and agents remain, Nero said. Octagon continues to focus on baseball globally and has added three baseball agents since it acquired CSMG.

Nero and Pucino report to Octagon President Phil de Picciotto.

As for the record deal for Hernandez, Pucino said, “It was never about him being the highest-paid pitcher. He was more concerned about his family and keeping them in Seattle. They all like it there.”
> REP 1 SIGNS PROSPECTS: Rep 1 Sports, the NFL player representation firm owned by cousins Bruce and Ryan Tollner, has signed Colorado tight end Nick Kasa for representation in the NFL draft.

Rep 1 also has signed San Jose State players Ryan Otten, a tight end, and David Quessenberry, an offensive tackle. The Tollners and Rep 1 Sports agents Chase Callahan and Brian Parker will represent the players.

Otten and Quessenberry had been represented by agent Steve Caric of Caric Sports Management, but the two left the agency in January. Caric said the reason for the termination was because he had signed Stanford tight end Zach Ertz, and Otten did not want to be represented by an agent who represented another tight end. Quessenberry left because he is Otten’s friend, and the two wanted the same agent.

Bruce Tollner, when asked why the players signed with Rep 1 when the Irvine, Calif.-based agency also represents Kasa, another tight end, said he was not comfortable discussing why clients had terminated another agent. Otten and Quessenberry could not be reached for comment.
> OTHER NFL DRAFT SIGNINGS: Eastern Athletic Services has signed Connecticut linebacker Sio Moore. Agents Tony Agnone and Eddie Johnson will represent him. … NFL agents Neil Schwartz and Jonathan Feinsod have signed Kentucky offensive guard Larry Warford. … SportsTrust Advisors has signed Florida State offensive tackle Menelik Watson. Agents Pat Dye Jr. and Bill Johnson will represent him.

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