The Yankees plan to meet with free agent second baseman Robinson Cano in order to reopen negotiations on a new contract. Jay-Z is expected to have an active role in the negotiations process, though the specifics are still unknown at this time.
Cano left Scott Boras for Jay-Z's Roc Nation, but Brodie Van Wagenen of CAA, is supposedly handling all the baseball aspects of what the agency does. While it seemed that the joint agreement assured that Jay-Z had someone to do all the work while he showered his clients with expensive gifts and made everyone look good, Van Wagenen says Jay-Z will not just be a spectator.
"He's going to be intimately involved in all areas," Van Wagenen said during an interview Sunday on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM. "And that has been true for the last six months. It's certainly true now. Jay is a very, very successful businessman, who has a keen understanding of value, a keen understanding of brands, and a keen understand of what this player, Robinson Cano, wants to accomplish in his career.
"He's been at the table both in strategy sessions and in preparation. And he absolutely has, and will continue to be, involved in the actual negotiations with potential suitors."
I'm not sure what having a non-agent at the table really does for Cano's ongoing contract negotiations, but if Jay-Z was the one who came up with the 10-year, $300 million "strategy" then it would make a lot of sense as the agency's first contract negotiation. They would understandably want to look strong out of the gate and hopefully bring in more players interested in the money they bring in.
Bargaining strategy or not, a ludicrous deal of that amount is sure to raise eyebrows, make teams hesitant, and even scare a few contenders away. The market has so far been silent on the All-Star second baseman, though that's not to be unexpected so soon into the offseason. With the two sides looking to begin the process and no one looking to contend for his services at the moment, it makes sense that Cano is reportedly prepared to wait a few months until a competitive market develops.
If Jay-Z is indeed going to be active in negotiations, what will Van Wagenen's role be? Will the Yankees have two points of contact? Are both sides in agreement about what they would accept or decline? Contract negotiations can be a delicate process and mixed signals could be the difference between Cano in pinstripes and Cano going elsewhere. If Jay-Z takes an active role, all parties better be careful what goes on in these meetings that are sure to come
That being said, this is the Yankees, and when was the last time holding all the cards ever worked out to their advantage? With Alex Rodriguez? With Derek Jeter, twice? Here's hoping they've learned their lesson.