The Reds' Ryan Ludwick enjoyed a bounceback year in 2012, posting a .275/.346/.531 batting line with 26 home runs in 472 plate appearances. The outfielder spoke to MLBTR about his relationship with the Beverly Hills Sports Council and why he chose them.
How did you first come into contact with Dan Horwits and the Beverly Hills Sports Council?
I think I was a little bit of a unique situation in that my brother [Eric Ludwick] was represented by them and I got to know Danny through my brother while I was in high school, but I wasn't highly recruited out of high school. A lot of teams wanted me to pitch, like my brother, but I didn't want to. I didn't have representation then but as time went on through high school and college at UNLV, I built a relationship with Danny before he was even really my agent, more as a family friend. It was a pretty easy decision when it came time.
Were there other agencies hoping to represent you before you signed on with BHSC? Why did you choose BSHC over them?
I did get recruited by other agents in the game and I listened to a couple of them and I let them come into the house and talk about how they were better than other guys. But, for me, the decision had already been made.
Besides contract negotiations, what else does BHSC do for you that you value?
Just about everything. I know the social media thing is really big right now but I'm a pretty Plain Jane type of dude. I don't have a Twitter or a Facebook account but I know a lot of players in the agency that have them help out with a lot of stuff like that. For me, they help with basic stuff like taxes, card deals, equipment, getting your Nike deal or your Wilson deal set up, and you get a little bit of perks too. I'll call Danny and he'll get concert tickets or dinner reservations…Me and the wife and some friends on New Year's we went down to the Florida keys and they'll even help out with that stuff. Anything under the sun, they'll help out with. The good thing about Danny is, I was at his wedding and I've known him forever and he's really like a big brother to me. I know I can call him about anything and I can ask him for everything and I think I've paid him back, so I think we're good.
From what you've seen, how common or uncommon is it for a player to have that type of relationship with his agent?
Everyone is different. Everyone's goals or mindset is different. I think with some guys, whether that's an agent or player, you get egos that are all about the money. I'm not trying to be rude or inconsiderate but I think that happens in everyday life, whether you're an agent or a lawyer or a doctor, a car salesman, whatever that might be, I think some people are about money and some are about happiness and friendships and enjoying what they're doing. For me, the friendship aspect was more important for me. But, that being said, I also knew that [BHSC], they're very good at what they do. There are a lot of guys out there, and I know [MLBTradeRumors] is doing a lot of agencies in this series, but they're in the top percentile of agencies out there.
When you look at Danny Horwits' record in arbitration, it's pretty good, I don't think he's ever lost. We settled outside of hearings every time and each and every time we got what we wanted. He's very good at that and I'm really really thankful that he's on our side in that respect.
You spent parts of nine seasons in the minors with five organizations due to injuries and trades before finally breaking through in 2007 with St. Louis. How did BHSC help you through those tough times?
It's a pretty lengthy story with Danny and I. Not even after my first full season in pro ball, I was drafted in '99 and in 2000 for the first half of the season I was in High-A ball in Modesto and I was hitting .200 with, I think, four home runs at the break and I remember calling my future wife up and my brother and my mom and Danny up and being like, "I'm done." I didn't even have a full year under my belt yet but I had never failed before and I felt like I was failing tremendously. Looking back on it, I've done that numerous times now, but that first time he told me to take a deep breath and that I'll be alright…He reminded me that a lot of people struggle when they get to pro ball and Danny has always been there behind me, whether it be then to when I eventually caught fire to my injuries.
I've had a lot of injuries as well, some people don't know about. I have an eight inch titanium rod in my hip, a six inch titanium rod in my ulna, I've had two knee surgeries, I've had a GI bleed which is a pretty bad ulcer where I had like five holes in my stomach from all the anti-inflammatories I was taking trying to get better from all the surgeries…There have been numerous times where I could have given up and Danny was there for me.
Have you ever recommended Dan to a player looking for representation or thinking about changing representation?
It's funny, he doesn't ever ask me to do that. I know he's asked other guys to do that when they have their eyes on a certain guy who may or may not have certain representation. But he really hasn't asked me to do that too much. There are guys that I've gone up to on my own and I ask what they're thinking. I always tell them that I'm very happy with my representation at the Sports Council and I tell them that it's a strong way to go. But he's never harped on me to recruit other players.
After a strong 2012, you turned down your side of a $5MM mutual option. Were you anxious to get your contract hammered out over the offseason and how often did you find yourself checking in with your agent as talks progressed this winter?
I called him quite frequently and he called me quite frequently. I think the important thing is that whenever I called, he's there. Danny is always there and he always got back to me promptly. Going through the arbitration process three times and then into the free agency process, I didn't want to believe him at times. Every step of the way there were times that I didn't trust his opinion, but in all three arbitration cases he was 100% correct and every time I got panicky in the season about free agency he was always correct. Like I said, he's always given me good advice and he's always right. I've been with him since '99 and I really don't have any gripes. I mean, I wish he could have gotten me an everyday big league job a little bit sooner but that's probably my fault, not his.
Were you at at all hesitant about turning down the option for 2013?
Not at all. I knew right away, we both knew right away, that we were going to go after a multi-year deal. I had never had one before. There were times in St. Louis where I played well early in my career that I thought St. Louis might let me have some security and play there. Then I went to San Diego and I had that awful year that got in my dome and mentally I just wasn't right. I went into free agency after that season, after being with San Diego and getting traded to Pittsburgh, thinking it was going to be a great thing.
It ended up being a thing where I only had four or five teams interested and I took a huge pay cut from the season before and I thought, "Hey man, I'm finally going to get my three year deal," and I only got a one year deal. I went to Cincinnati last year and Danny said, "You know, if you're unhappy with what you've got going, you've got no one to blame but yourself. If you're unhappy, you have to go out there and use Cincinnati to your advantage."
Cincinnati was a place I wanted to go but we were talking to other teams. Danny agreed with me, he said that we had to listen to other teams but that Cincinnati was the best fit. For one, it's a completely different ballpark from San Diego, it's a lot more hitter friendly. And for me, it was my favorite team growing up, Eric Davis was my favorite player, it's where my mom and dad were born and raised, and it just kind of struck home. It was a good feeling and he said that I should use it to my advantage to get back to where I was. I think after last year's season I proved to other people and Danny that I can still hit a little bit. And you know, Walt [Jocketty], Danny, and I got together and I let it be known to Walt that I wanted to stay there and that I was very happy with the situation I was in. Danny and him got the deal hammered out and I'm very thankful to be where I'm at.