On Monday, MLB Trade Rumors reported that Oscar Taveras switched agents from Melvin Roman (the agent for Yadier Molina and Jaime Garcia) to Rob Plummer. Plummer is also the agent for Carlos Martinez, meaning that he represents two of Future Redbirds' top four prospects in the industry's best farm system, at least according to Baseball America and John Sickels. Maybe we should get to know this guy.
If Plummer's name sounds familiar, maybe this ESPN story from 2004 will explain it:
Plummer, who is based in New York, has represented several Dominican players who have received seven-figure bonuses, including Los Angeles Dodgers' prospect Joel Guzman, owner of a record $2.25 million bonus, set in 2001. He was also the agent who blew the whistle in 1997 on the Florida Marlins for signing underage pitcher Ricardo Aramboles, who was 14 when he signed for $5,500.
Not ringing a bell? Then maybe you'll recall Miguel Sano, an amateur free agent from the Dominican Republic, who signed with the Twins for $3.15 million in 2009 at the age of sixteen. Plummer negotiated that signing and the process was documented in the movie entitled, "Ballplayer: Pelotero," a film that can be streamed at Netflix.
The documentary calls attention to some of the uglier sides of the Dominican Republic's player development system. Around the time of the documentary's release, Yahoo!'s Jeff Passan further explained Plummer's involvement there:
The line between sleazy and enterprising in the Dominican Republic is blurry, and Plummer has toed it for longer than any American agent with as much integrity as the system allows. On one hand, Plummer is quick to disassociate himself with players who fake their identity, either by changing their name or their birth date. On the other, he is admittedly single-minded when it comes to his job.
"I want to get the biggest signing bonus possible," he said. "I want to be like Scott Boras of the Dominican Republic."
I'm sure "being like Scott Boras" is a succinct enough way to describe most agent's mission statements. Still, if that wasn't clear enough for you, we find Plummer's plans reiterated in an Alumni Q&A with the University of Virginia's School of Law website:
"I have worked very hard and against the odds, yet I am still not where I want to be yet. Hopefully in eight years this will be a Q&A about me signing Miguel to one of the largest Major League contracts ever."
Plummer refers to Miguel as, "the best player that I have ever represented," in that Q&A, but that was before he landed Taveras, announced baseball's third best prospect overall by MLB.com on Tuesday. Miguel Sano ranked twelfth and, while some of that has to do with Taveras' proximity to the majors, I'm assuming we can replace "Miguel" with "Oscar" in the aforementioned block quote.
Like any other prospect, the Cardinals will control Oscar Taveras for six years after he reaches St. Louis, so it's not like some hard-nosed negotiations are right around the corner. In that sense, it's probably premature to get all worked up about something so far removed from the present.
That doesn't mean we should completely ignore this story. Rob Plummer has been extremely candid about his personal aspirations. Oscar Taveras has elected to be represented by the guy who models himself after Scott Boras. At the risk of sounding melodramatic*, we can probably go ahead and save ourselves the suspense of another Albert Pujols affair. There's almost certainly not going to be a future hometown discount making Taveras a lifelong St. Louis Cardinal, should his career even warrant that kind of consideration (I'm conceding this to be a major "what-if" scenario).
Of course, this all points to another benefit of having a great farm system. We get to enjoy the affordable years of an elite talent without having to entertain the demands of an unreasonable agent. For the next six years (at least), Oscar Taveras will be the property of the St. Louis Cardinals, should they want him. A decade from now? Well, who knows? But here's to the next several years. And may they be as great as we hope.
*Yes, I realize I'm getting waaaay ahead of myself. In my defense, the calendar hasn't even reached February, and I thought we could use a distraction from Ronny Cedeno.