"For everybody to say this is an A-plus for Jay Z, I just don't buy it. That would have been getting New York to pay $240 million. Getting Seattle to pay $240 million wasn't some masterstroke."
• Will Cano's payday entice other marquee players to sign up with Jay Z and CAA as they approach free agency? Some teams might have been caught off guard by the circus atmosphere surrounding the Cano negotiations. But it doesn't really matter what teams think. CAA already has a powerhouse clientele that includes the likes of Ryan Zimmerman, Buster Posey, Matt Cain and Ryan Braun. If other big-name players are impressed enough by Jay Z's pitch to come on board -- and the Cano deal helped sway them -- that's the ultimate test.
Jay Z will ultimately receive lots of credit for Cano's payday, but there's rampant skepticism in the industry over what he contributed to the process other than recruiting Cano away from Boras last spring. That's no small feat. But lots of industry observers are united in the belief that Van Wagenen and the CAA people did the grunt work, crunched the numbers and conducted all the arduous preparations, and that the whole idea of a "collaboration" with Jay Z was overblown.
"Jay Z certainly has clout," said another agent. "But to me, his value comes in being a figurehead."
In a slightly bizarre twist, some agents who are inclined to trash Boras because he's arrogant or poaches their clients tend to view him in a more positive light now. Boras built his business from the ground floor in the '80s, and he's accepted a reputation as baseball's No. 1 villain while negotiating contracts that have benefited countless players he didn't represent. And say what you will about Boras: It's hard to turn on an Angels or Dodgers game without seeing him on TV standing there behind the screen for nine innings. He's pumped tons of money into his company, and he logs the hours.
And Jay Z? He's still just dabbling in the sports representation business, working with Cano, NBA star Kevin Durant and a few others as a sidelight to his music empire.
"I have players who kid me about Jay Z, and I tell them, 'You don't want to be represented by somebody who's represented by somebody,'" said one agent, laughing.
This whole Boras-Jay Z thing isn't over by a long shot. The Mariners will presumably introduce Cano next week in Seattle or Orlando, Fla., during the winter meetings, and Boras will take center stage to promote outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, who's the only nine-figure bat left on the market. It would be the ultimate hoot if the Yankees jump in on Choo and wind up with two Scott Boras outfielders for $50 million or so more than the Mariners spent on one Robinson Cano.
When the agents, egos, the business of baseball and multimillions collide, there's never a shortage of reasons to stay tuned.