SBD/November 20, 2013/Labor and Agents

Interest In Cano Tepid So Far As Questions Grow Surrounding Agents' Presentation

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Cano's reps reportedly are seeking a contract worth over $300M for the free agent
Yankees 2B Robinson Cano "has not drawn much interest around the league during the opening weeks of free agency" despite being the best player on the market, so if his agents were "hoping to create a market by meeting with the crosstown rival Mets Monday night, they may need to come up with a Plan B -- or come down from their current demand" for a 10-year deal worth more than $300M, according to Mark Feinsand of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Cano's agents, Roc Nation Sports Owner Jay Z and CAA Baseball co-Head Brodie Van Wagenen, "might still be looking for a contract worth more than $300 million, but they’re unlikely to find it" from either the Yankees or Mets. A source said that Cano's reps have been "trying to sell him to clubs 'as Michael Jordan, not as a baseball player.'" The source added, "Cano is not a marketable player off the field. He’s not a star." The source said that Cano "has never even been the biggest draw on his own team." The source said of Roc Nation Sports, "They are just clueless." The source said that word is "beginning to filter down through the baseball world that Cano’s asking price is about to drop" from $310M to $200M (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/20). MLB Network's Matt Vasgersian said of the Mets-Cano meeting, “It’s more about Jay Z. It’s more about, 'Hey look, we’re having this meeting.' It’s all eyewash” (“Hot Stove,” MLB Network, 11/19).

PLAYING THE WAITING GAME: The Yankees have indicated they want to re-sign Cano for the right price, and Yankees President Randy Levine said Jay Z and Van Wagenen are "very smart, competent guys, and I am not here to tell them how to conduct their strategy or how to sell their player." Levine: "They can do anything. I’m sure they have a plan. They know we’re here. They know we’re very interested. But right now the money, their demand, is just too high" (N.Y. POST, 11/20). Levine said of Jay Z, "Until he gets a little more realistic, we have nothing to talk about." ESPN N.Y.'s Andrew Marchand wrote Jay Z entered the agent business "talking big -- now he has to back it up." Marchand added he does "believe a market will develop" for Cano, but now, "after the first quarter, it feels like Jay Z/Cano is down 25-15" (ESPNNY.com, 11/19).

IS CANO BEING OVER-HYPED? In N.Y., Joel Sherman writes a team gets a "terrific player" if they sign Cano, but "please spare us the sales pitch Cano adds much beyond that." Yankees ratings on YES Network this season dropped 33% and Yankee Stadium attendance fell by more than 262,000. While this "was hardly Cano's fault ... he did not have the charisma or star power to even slow down what already were trends going the wrong way, much less reverse them." Cano is "liked, admired, but not loved," and "simply does not have that 'it' factor." Jay Z is a "wild card as a sports agent," as no one "has any idea what he will prioritize in his clients’ careers" (N.Y. POST, 11/20). Also in N.Y., Mike Lupica writes, "Everybody gets that Jay Z and his guys have a lot riding on Cano, they want to make a huge splash." But a source yesterday said, "Jay Z impresses players. He doesn't impress the owners." Lupica writes teams know what Cano's on-field numbers are, but "you also know by now that Cano is barely in the top 20 in jersey sales" even while playing for the Yankees. With Cano "in the middle of the infield and in the middle of the lineup, Yankee attendance and ratings keep going the wrong way" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/20). FS1’s Trevor Pryce said, “No one is going to Yankee Stadium to watch Robinson Cano play baseball. That’s Jay Z’ angle” (“Crowd Goes Wild,” FS1, 11/19). Meanwhile, the N.Y. Daily News' Frank Isola said, "You cannot be throwing out these kinds of numbers to these players. You never get the return on that investment" ("Olbermann," ESPN2, 11/19). 

TAKING A HANDS-ON APPROACH: The N.Y. Daily News' Andy Martino said it was "interesting" how much Jay Z was "apparently involved" in the meeting with the Mets. Martino: "We've been wondering, this guy's a baseball agent? How's that going to look? Apparently, he was way up in front of the room, he was going through all this slide show audio/visual stuff, really engaged in the process of pitching his client. So what we really learned here is that Jay Z is interested in acting like a baseball agent and not just being some figurehead in the background" ("Daily News Live," SNY, 11/19).
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