Former Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart has returned to his family-run agency – Sports Management Partners – which he’ll operate with his wife, Lonnie Murray, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (Twitter link). Stewart previously represented Matt Kemp and Chris Carter, among others, but he had to leave the business when the D-backs hired him in 2014. The fact that Murray remained with the agency while Stewart served as a GM led to conflict-of-interest questions, as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic detailed last March.
Now for a few updates on notable agency changes that have happened this week:
- One year before he’s scheduled to hit the open market, Rays right-hander Alex Cobb has switched agencies from ACES to Beverly Hills Sports Council, tweets Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Cobb was a high-end starter from 2013-14, but he missed all of 2015 thanks to Tommy John surgery and posted ugly results in his return last season. Over an admittedly small sample size (22 innings), the 29-year-old logged an 8.59 ERA to go with 6.55 K/9 – his lowest since 2011. It’s possible Cobb will spend his platform season in a different uniform, as the Rangers have expressed interest in acquiring him.
- Free agent first baseman Ryan Howard has departed CAA Sports for Excel Sports Management, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag (via Twitter). Regardless of his representation, the longtime Phillie will have difficulty securing a decent deal this offseason as part of a market laden with first base/designated hitter types, Heyman contends. Howard won the National League MVP award in 2006 and scored a five-year, $125MM extension in 2010, but his output declined significantly after he inked that deal. To the left-handed slugger’s credit, he is coming off a 25-home run season, though that accompanied a subpar .196/.257/.453 batting line in 362 plate appearances. Unsurprisingly, the Phillies bought the 37-year-old Howard out for $10MM last month instead of keeping him for $23MM in 2017.
- Cubs catcher Miguel Montero has left Octagon for Rep 1 Baseball, per Jerry Crasnick of ESPN (Twitter link). Next season is the last one left on the five-year, $60MM extension Montero signed with the Diamondbacks in 2012. He’s set to make $14MM in 2017 as the backup to Willson Contreras. Montero is coming off perhaps the worst offensive campaign of his career, having hit just .216/.327/.357 in 284 PAs, though his strong defensive reputation remains. Both Baseball Prospectus and StatCorner gave his pitch-framing work rave reviews.
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