Interviewed by Noah Graff
Today’s Machining World Archives April 2006 Volume 02 Issue 04
Young baseball agent Matt Sosnikis best recognized as the agent of Florida Marlins, 22-game winner Dontrelle Willis. He is known for having close relationships with his players. He once even shared an apartment with Willis for several months. This coming season he will have five players on the Marlin opening day roster. Recently, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnik featured Sosnik in his book License to Deal: A Season on the Run with a Maverick Baseball Agent.
What made you want to be an agent?
I realized that I was never going to be able to play pro sports. I was Jewish and 5-10, and I figured that this was the closest I could come to actually being [part of that world].
How did you get your start?
I found one guy who would let me represent him. His name was Lou Luca. He was in AAA, and I told him that this was something I had always wanted to do. But it was total trial and error. I had no idea what I was doing. None. I didn’t have a mentor. I had no clue.
What do you think your job entails as an agent?
Number one is being emotionally supportive towards guys, and being able to really just be a stabilizer when they’re sort of emotionally all over the place.
Do you see yourself as a father figure to your clients?
For some. There are some where I feel like I’m an older brother, and there are some where I feel like I’m a contemporary. And I definitely have some guys who are as mature as I am, if not more mature.
Do you ever see yourself as a “Jerry Maguire?”
If you correlate that I actually have a heart and care about guys and not just the money, that’s true. But by the same token, its business, and I make it clear when I go into a house that I’m not there because I think the guy is a great guy. I’m there because it’s something that could make me some money. I don’t want to pretend it’s something that it’s not.
Why are you different from other agents?
I think that other agents are good guys. I think the problem is that the young players and their families are so uneducated about the process that the people who become agents tend to be guys who are looking to make a quick buck. And each time that someone comes in with less and less integrity, it just lowers the bar and people feel like to succeed they’ve got to lower the bar themselves.
What’s one thing you really love about being an agent?
I love the closeness with the players.
What’s one thing you really hate about being an agent?
I would say that the thing I hate the most is, that most people, men in particular, abuse their relationships. And it made me understand why people in relationships are unfaithful to each other. For the most part, the guys who have slipped away from us are guys who are unfaithful to their wives, and I just chalk it up to the fact that if somebody can’t be faithful to their wife or their children, what chance do I have that they’re going to be faithful to me.
How much do agents make?
This is the first year the business was profitable. All agents, including us, charge 3-5 percent.
If you were a general manager, and you could have any pitcher to start your team around, who would you take?
I’d take Dontrelle Willis first and Johan Santana second. I think if you ask that to most GMs they’ll answer the same way.
If you could have coffee with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
I think it would be a tie between Albert Einstein and Dave Matthews.
What car do you drive?
I drive a 2006 Jaguar convertible. It’s my eighth Jaguar in a row.
If you could be any machine, what would you be?
Honestly, any of them would be fine, because it would allow me to emotionally distance myself from the disappointments of the business.