Scott Boras: 1; Jay Z: 0.
Tuesday was chockablock filled with MLB news. On the one end, you had Dexter Fowler heading to the Houston Astros in a move that really should have come with a warning that any report might make the reader drowsy.
On the other hand, you had Jacoby Ellsbury agreeing to don the pinstripes and become a New York Yankee in just one of the bigger moves this offseason.
The signing will have obvious repercussions throughout MLB: One of the biggest names is off the market, so teams and similar players have a starting point for their own respective negotiations.
However, one of the more captivating subplots is the growing rivalry between super agent Scott Boras and the man with a slash line that would make Miguel Cabrera proud. Yes, we are talking about rapper/producer/former minority owner of the Nets/and current agent to Robinson Cano, Jay Z.
Although, calling this a rivalry is kind of like saying Ike Davis and Prince Fielder play the same sport. Oh, they do? Fine, it's a rivalry, but Hova is playing a great deal of catchup on the outset of his foray into baseball representation.
If we are so inclined, and we are, Jay Z is going through his grueling trials on Dagobah while Boras giggles and watches him struggle. Boras is Yoda if it weren't obvious.
With the name, prestige and track record of success, there is no doubt Jay Z and his Roc Nation Sports agency can flourish.
However, there will be some growing pains, and they will play out as blemishes the size of a seven-year deal worth $153 million.
This isn't boxing, two men exchanging blows and ducking jabs. This is chess, a strategic movement of pieces to reach an end goal. Boras understands all of this, and it's a big reason why Jay Z's all-or-nothing approach with Cano is faltering at the moment.
As CBS Sports' Mike Axisa reminds, Cano's camp started things off with 10-years, $305 million; to which the Yankees offered a seven-year, $161 million offer. This is essentially like asking for cake for breakfast when you were a kid and getting oatmeal.
And so things continue with a bridge miles wide getting closer by mere inches at a time.
That outrageous suggestion from Cano's representation was of course leaked, and now other teams have fluttered away to the safety of more reasonable demands.
The key is to entice and invigorate a bidding war; instead Cano's camp flailed their arms, shouted and scared away all the sweet game.
Once upon a rumor, the Los Angeles Dodgers were potential suitors. At the very least, they were a perfect team to point out in negotiations.
Since that time, L.A. signed 26-year-old Cuban infielder Alex Guerrero—a Scott Boras client by the way. Now the Dodgers are more inclined to bring back Mark Ellis than they are to drop a Brink's truck on Cano's front lawn.
That, for the time being, leaves the Seattle Mariners.
On the album, Magna Carta...Holy Grail, Jay Z celebrated his theft of Cano like Rickey Henderson holding a base over his head, rapping, "Scott Boras, you over baby. Robinson Cano, you coming with me," in his song, "Crown."
After which, Boras quipped the following, via Tim Brown's Twitter.
He more recently issued, "If Steven Spielberg walked into USC Medical Center and said, 'I want to do neurosurgery,' they don't give him a scalpel," in a Nov. 7, Jerry Crasnick article on ESPN.
It's enough to make you believe Boras is off somewhere lighting a cigar and dusting off his very valuable shoulders.
Ellsbury's off his to-do list and Shin-Soo Choo, another big name on the market, is his next item to settle. The remarkable part is this all took place before the flurry of the Winter Meetings, starting Dec. 9.
While Boras sells Choo as a machine who gets on base at a great clip, Jay Z will be trying to turn the narrative back to Cano being the best player available and one any team would die to have.
At the moment, the story is far more dull and terribly more convoluted. The Yankees have made it rain on two big free agents thus far in Brian McCann and Ellsbury, making a record signing north of Cano's current demands unlikely.
The Mariners continue to look for big bats, but taking a big name west to a smaller market feels like a presumed defeat for Jay Z and his client, unless Seattle is ready to meet outrageous prices.
So the time for braggadocios lyrics is over. The time to move chess pieces and make a suitable market that will get your client the contract he desires started months ago.
Some might like to call Boras and Jay Z a rivalry, but we know better. Nabbing a superstar client is just one small part of the game.
The rest is all about finishing a big deal, and Boras is the best closer in the business.
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