NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Rapper and recording producer Jay-Z is expanding into sports representation and has signed Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano away from Scott Boras to be a client.
Shawn Carter, better known as Jay-Z, and his Roc Nation company have partnered with CAA Sports to form Roc Nation Sports. Cano changed his listed agent with the Major League Baseball Players Association on Tuesday from Boras to CAA Sports’ Brodie Van Wagenen.
Cano can become a free agent at the end of the World Series. Boras usually prefers that his clients become free agents to increase bidders and maximize their values, so the change could increase the chance Cano will reach a new agreement with the Yankees during the season.
“CAA is built on a culture of collaboration and this relationship is no different,” Van Wagenen said. “Jay and I will both be involved in all aspects of Robinson’s representation on and off the field.”
So will retaining Cano be an easier task with Boras now out of the picture?
“Robbie wants to be a Yankee,” a person close to Cano told the New York Post. “He wants to get a deal done.”
Former baseball star Jose Canseco wasn’t impressed on Twitter: “Cano just gave the yankees $100M.”
At least one agent agreed with the outspoken Canseco, telling the New York Daily News that “Jay-Z doesn’t know s— about baseball.”
“Celebrity in baseball comes from performance, but Robinson is looking at Jay-Z and Beyonce to make him a celebrity,” the agent told the Daily News. “He is being naive. The story now is about Jay-Z, not Robinson.”
Juan Perez is president of Roc Nation Sports. Jay-Z, a part owner of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, is friendly with injured Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, a former Boras client.
“Because of my love of sports, it was a natural progression to form a company where we can help top athletes in various sports the same way we have been helping artists in the music industry for years,” Carter said in a statement.
Cano was represented by Bobby Barad before switching to Boras early in 2011.
“At this point in my career, I am ready to take a more active role in my endeavors both on and off the field,” Cano said in a statement.
It remains to be seen whether the players’ association will have an issue with Roc Nation’s personnel because of Jay-Z’s role in NBA team management and his agreements to perform concerts in venues owned by major league teams and their owners.
“The Roc Nation personnel who will be working in baseball must become certified as either general or limited agents,” union special adviser Rick Shapiro said. “These people have applied for, and been granted, temporary limited certification. His ownership in the Nets is an issue we will look into when we receive the full application package.”
While the Yankees usually wait for contracts to expire before negotiating new agreements with players, they have said they hope to reach a deal with the 30-year-old Cano while he remains under their control.
“I have yet to speak to Robinson, so I’m not going to comment until I talk with him,” said Boras, who had represented Cano since 2011.
Cano is making $15 million in the final season of what became a $57 million, six-year deal and is eligible for free agency after the World Series. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Feb. 28 that the team had made a significant offer to Cano for a new deal.
“We’ve consistently said Robinson Cano has been a great Yankee, and we hope is a Yankee for many years to come,” team president Randy Levine said.
CAA Sports has negotiated $100 million-plus packages for San Francisco’s Matt Cain and Buster Posey, Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun and Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman. The agent fees for Cano’s next contract could become subject to litigation between Boras and the new company.
“This particular player’s situation, his high-profile stature, his accomplishment and frankly our understanding off the landscape makes this a situation that we are certainly well-equipped already on what his potential could be both short-term and long-term, and (we) certainly will be educating Robinson on that,” Van Wagenen said.
Do you think Cano made a big mistake? Will this make negotiations easier for the Bombers? Be heard in the comments!
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