New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano’s pending contract situation has been a popular topic of discussion for the past few months. It will likely continue to be until the situation is resolved one way or another, but the picture might have become much clearer with the news that broke this morning, first by ESPN’s Buster Olney. Cano has fired super agent Scott Boras and will now be represented by Roc Nation Sports – a new venture by Jay-Z in partnership with CAA.
Cano will be a free agent at season’s end and historically the Yankees have avoided, as an organizational practice, handing out contract extensions during a player’s final season. They especially don’t like to do so during the regular season. Yet with an aging lineup and despite upcoming self-imposed financial limitations, the best move the Yankees could make would be to lock Cano up before he’s able to reach the open market. With Boras in the fold, there was certainty that would never happen.
Various reports have suggested that the Yankees made a “significant offer” before Spring Training began, which Boras rejected. To my knowledge the terms of such a deal haven’t been made public to date, but it’s safe to assume that we’re talking about a deal of at least 6 years in length and well over $100 Million. Waiting until the free agent market would allow Boras to draw more teams into the mix – the Los Angeles Dodgers have been rumored to be a potential early suitor – and potentially get more. It’s been suggested that Cano wasn’t too happy about that deal being turned down, lending the idea that he prefers to stay in New York.
Roc Nation Sports is an offshoot from Jay-Z’s Roc Nation entertainment company working in conjunction with Creative Arts Agency (CAA), according to some details shared by ESPN’s Darren Rovell. Cano appears to have some aspirations beyond the field, which is where Jay-Z’s experience and network will come into play. He’s believed to be planning on becoming an agent to help represent players himself, potentially with an expansion to include NFL and NBA clients. Brodie Van Wagenan of CAA will handle Cano’s baseball related discussions, including his next contract. Wagenan and CAA also represent Ryan Braun, Matt Cain, Ryan Zimmerman, and Buster Posey – who’ve all recently signed extensions exceeding $100 Million.
A fair amount of the initial reaction jumped to the conclusion that Cano will end up re-signing with the Yankees sooner rather than later. Some details and specifics do still need to be worked out, as of midday Boras still hadn’t actually spoken with Cano, according to what he told ESPN’s T.J. Quinn. Cano is still technically under contract, though it’s unclear what the process entails to void/break such deals.
Removing Boras from the equation does bode well for Brian Cashman and the Yankees’ efforts to get a deal done. The team is determined to find their way under the $189.4 Million luxury tax threshold, so the sooner they knew what part of that amount will need to be available for a commitment to Cano, the better.