Cano signs with Jay-Z, CAA, leaves Boras' agency
NEW YORK -- As he approaches what promises to be a lucrative contract payday, Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano cut ties with the Scott Boras agency on Tuesday in favor of a representation deal with a new agency involving hip-hop star Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter.
Cano's marketing endeavors under the Creative Artists Agency umbrella will be handled by Roc Nation, an entertainment company founded by Jay-Z, while his on-field baseball activities will be headed by CAA agent Brodie Van Wagenen.
The four-time All-Star second baseman spoke briefly on Tuesday at a Victoria's Secret VS PINK event in SoHo, telling MLB.com that he was not ready to celebrate the decision just yet.
"We've got to focus on the games first and then we'll celebrate, how about that?" Cano said. "Yes, I'm excited, of course. When you make that kind of a decision, you have to really be with that kind of company."
Earlier on Tuesday, the 30-year-old Cano also posted a photo on Twitter of himself and Jay-Z pressing pen to paper as they made the partnership official.
Cano said in a statement released by CAA that he is "ready to take a more active role in my endeavors both on and off the field," and that he is "confident that the pairing of Roc Nation Sports and CAA Sports will be essential in helping me accomplish my short- and long-term goals."
In the statement, Cano added, "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."
Cano declined to comment when asked by MLB.com if the agency switch increases the chances that he will stay with the Yankees, but it is possible that the change could impact the tone of the discussions with the team.
"As with all clients, we won't discuss negotiations publicly, but I can say that New York and the Yankees fans have been great to Robinson," Van Wagenen said in a telephone interview. "He has flourished in pinstripes and certainly loves the team and the city."
General manager Brian Cashman has revealed that managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner authorized a "significant offer" to Cano and Boras with the hopes of reaching an extension, but those negotiations did not appear to be moving quickly.
It was believed that, on Cano's behalf, Boras was planning to push instead for a deal approaching the eye-popping contracts signed by the Reds' Joey Votto (10 years, $225 million) and the Angels' Albert Pujols (10 years, $240 million).
Van Wagenen declined comment when asked if Cano would be interested in signing an extension during the season, but said, "Every situation is unique, I think that's fair to say, and our methodology is to outline a strategy that helps the client achieve his goals -- not ours. We will certainly do the same for Robinson."
During Spring Training, Cano repeatedly said that he did not care to discuss his upcoming contract talks. While he said that it had not yet become a distraction, Cano seemed largely uncomfortable with the attention surrounding the situation.
"For us, we're here to accomplish two things for him: one, to minimize his distractions so he can put his focus where he wants it, which is on the field with his teammates and the New York Yankees," Van Wagenen said. "And two, help him accomplish his business goals both in the short term and long term. We certainly will work with that mindset."
Cano had been thinking about finding new representation in recent weeks, according to a source, and he decided over this past weekend that he would be the first client of the new Jay-Z-anchored Roc Nation Sports group.
Van Wagenen said that the alliance between Jay-Z and CAA will be a "true collaboration," and that Jay-Z would be "critically involved" in every step of the negotiations in Cano's future.
"Jay will not be out of the loop in any respect of it," Van Wagenen said.
Cano had been with Boras since February 2011, when he dismissed Bobby Barad, the agent who negotiated Cano's current deal with the Yankees. That contract expires after this season, during which Cano is set to earn $15 million on a club option that was triggered by the Yankees last October.
Cano said that he would not discuss reports that said Boras was unaware of his decision to part ways with the agency. Cano is the third Yankees star to leave Boras' stable in recent years, joining third baseman Alex Rodriguez and first baseman Mark Teixeira.