Jay-Z Creates New RocNation Sports; 1st Client Is Yankees Robinson Cano
Entertainment Mogul/Rapper Jay-Z is at it again, expands Roc Nation into professional sports representation:
Via NY Times:
When Robinson Cano rejected the offer of a substantial contract extension from the Yankees before spring training, he was still being represented by Scott Boras, baseball’s most formidable and challenging negotiator. It is Boras, after all, who consistently takes big-name players to free agency so they can obtain every last penny possible in a new contract.
But on Tuesday, Cano announced that he had fired Boras and replaced him with a new agency headed by Jay-Z, the entertainment mogul and Yankee fan.
For the Yankees, who have been battered with bad news lately, Cano’s surprising decision could only be seen as a heartening development.
Jay-Z for Boras is a trade they would probably make any day of the week because it would seem to increase their chances of reaching a new deal with Cano, their 30-year second baseman, before his current contract expires after the 2013 season and before other teams can begin efforts to take him away.
Cano is arguably the Yankees’ best player. He has a career .308 batting average and last year had 33 home runs and 48 doubles among his 196 hits. He is also considered a remarkably deft second baseman in the field. As top Yankee players grow older, and older, it is Cano who seems the most logical player for the team to build around in the years ahead.
For the moment, the Yankees will wait to see how Cano’s switch in agents plays out. In creating a sports agency called Roc Nation Sports, and partnering it with the established Creative Artists Agency, Jay-Z is venturing into new territory and using Cano, his first sports client, as a centerpiece. But the Yankees do know that long before he formed his new sports agency, Jay-Z, who often wears a Yankee cap, played a significant role in persuading Alex Rodriguez, whom he considers a friend, to remain with the Yankees after Rodriguez opted out of his contract in 2007.
Rodriguez, who was represented by Boras at the time, listened closely to Jay-Z and signed a 10-year, $275 million deal with the Yankees two weeks later. Rodriguez later fired Boras, but he remains close to both Jay-Z and Cano, and it is possible he helped persuade his teammate to switch agents.
The Yankees also know that Cano, as part of Jay-Z’s partnership with C.A.A., will now be represented by Brodie Van Wagenen, one of C.A.A. Sports’ top agents. Unlike Boras, Van Wagenen has a history of negotiating large extensions between his star clients and their teams before those players reach free agency. That list includes Ryan Braun and the Milwaukee Brewers, Ryan Zimmerman and the Washington Nationals, Matt Cain and the San Francisco Giants, and Ryan Howard and the Philadelphia Phillies. The Yankees did not play on Tuesday, but Cano may address his decision before Wednesday night’s game at Yankee Stadium against Boston. On Tuesday, he issued a statement that said he had reached a point in his career in which he was ready to take a more active role in his affairs.
“I am confident that the pairing of Roc Nation Sports and C.A.A. Sports will be essential in helping me accomplish my short- and long-term goals,” the statement said. “I am making this important decision now so I can keep my focus on helping the Yankees succeed in 2013, while minimizing any distractions for me and my teammates.”
Jay-Z’s new agency filed certification papers with the Major League Baseball Players Association on Tuesday, which the union was expected to approve. C.A.A. Sports is already certified with the union and, in the N.B.A., is closely affiliated with the Knicks, representing Carmelo Anthony, J. R. Smith and Coach Mike Woodson.
Van Wagenen issued a statement on Tuesday in which he said C.A.A.’s mandate was to minimize Cano’s distractions “while helping him achieve his goals on and off the field.” One way to do so, of course, is to have him sign an extension with the Yankees that eliminates speculation about where he would play after this season.
Many assumed Boras was planning to take Cano to free agency, but with so many teams now awash in new television money, even several of his clients have agreed to extensions rather than go to free agency. That list includes shortstop Elvis Andrus, who just signed an eight-year, $120 million extension with the Texas Rangers.
Cano had been contemplating a change in agents for several weeks and had been interviewing several candidates before settling on Jay-Z and his new company, according to two baseball officials who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak on the matter. On March 13, perhaps not coincidentally, Cano and teammate C. C. Sabathia attended a Miami Heat game and met both Jay-Z and LeBron James.
Cano submitted papers to the players association Tuesday notifying it of his change in representation. Players sign 12-month contracts with agents and may switch at any time. But the previous agent does retain some rights and can file a grievance and make financial claims, which are settled in arbitration.
But whatever Boras may receive in that process is unlikely to match what he would have received if Cano was still his client. But he is not.
Posted on April 11, 2013, in Major League Baseball and tagged Jay-Z, Robinson Cano, Yankees. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Jay-Z Creates New RocNation Sports; 1st Client Is Yankees Robinson Cano.