Tonight, White Sox designated hitter Yermín Mercedes is the sole player interview during a Real Sports feature on Michael Schwimer’s Big League Advance investment group, which buys shares in prospective major leaguers.
This episode of Real Sports premieres tonight at 9 p.m. Central on HBO and HBO Max.
Most fans first became aware of BLA after former White Sox farmhand Fernando Tatís Jr. signed his $340 million, 14-year contract extension with the San Diego Padres. But most White Sox fans are probably unaware that this early year’s MLB sensation, Yermín Mercedes, is also a BLA client.
BLA estimates its average deal with players to be $350,000 for 10% of all future earnings. Mercedes, either reflecting a deal made when the company was in a fledgling state or (more likely) Mercedes’ status as a veteran/longtime minor leaguer, received just $165,000 for 15% of his future earnings.
White Sox highlights, and a remote interview with reporter Soledad O’Brien, is featured toward the end of the story. In it, Mercedes plainly states why he would sign away 15% of his future.
I have a big family. They need me all the time because right now—I’m the head of my family. I just want to — to do the best I can do for them.
The interview concludes:
SOLEDAD O’BRIEN: They gave you $165,000, you have to pay them if you make $10 million, one and a half million dollars.
YERMIN MERCEDES: I give to them, yeah. You know why?
SOLEDAD O’BRIEN: Why?
YERMIN MERCEDES: Because those people trusted me. They believe in me, you know? Nobody believed in me at that point. And they believed in me.
Mercedes’ answers certainly reflect everything we’ve ever heard from him in the past, including his very first meeting with the media, during his first MLB call-up, last summer.
It’s a fascinating story, and investment concept. Tatís and Mercedes are certainly not alone. Highlights of home runs from Franmil Reyes are shown, as a BLA client. And the group, founded by Schwimer (himself a former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher and MiLB toiler) claims 60 major leaguers already.
What do you think — is this an interesting concept? There are cries of exploitation, but BLA does require (on camera) all players signing to name the lawyer with whom they consulted on the contract, as well as answer a series of questions demonstrating that they understand the terms.
Is BLA a lifeline, or a trap?
This poll is closed
BLA gives impoverished minor leaguers, often from impoverished upbringings, a lifeline.
BLA is exploiting the system, similar to how MLB is exploiting MiLB.