Jay Z shook up the sports world on Friday (December 6) when his Roc Nation Sports agency negotiated the third biggest contract in Major League Baseball history for their client Robinson Cano. Cano, a five-time All-Star who started his professional career with the New York Yankees in 2005, will suit up with the Seattle Mariners next spring thanks to a 10-year, $240 million contract.
With Hov at the helm many critics questioned if the hip-hop mogul would be able to seriously compete with veteran sports agents like Scott Boras, whom Jay wrestled Cano from in April.
"I think this is a new beginning in all of sports," ESPN writer Enrique Rojas told MTV News on Friday (December 6). "This is the first time that a player leaves Scott Boras. Usually it's the contrary. Usually it's the other side, Boras leaves the player. Also, this the first time that Seattle gets a player over the Yankees for money. This is a new beginning in sports."
Rojas broke the Cano story and has been following the signing closely, and while many in the sports world have been skeptical of Jay Z's move to sports, the writer is quite impressed. "Definitely he starts with an A," he said grading Jay and RNS performance on this deal. "I think it's too early to say that Jay Z will be a good agent or a great agent, but definitely this is a very good start for him... and he has a good company."
Leaving Boras for Jay was a head-scratcher for some, but Cano recognizes the power of Hov's brand, which has transcended music. "We all know what kind of man he is and what he's all about," the Dominican Republic-born slugger told MTV News in June. "It's always good to be around people like him and share those good moments that he's into and get some good advice."
"I think this deal says that Jay Z cannot be stopped," RapRadar.com content director Brian "B.Dot" Miller told us, before drawing a parallel between Jay and Tom Cruise's fictional "Jerry Maguire" character. "I call him Hovie McGuire, because this is just the evolution."
Complex Sports Editor Ralph Warner reminded us that it wasn't Jay, but actually veteran agent Brodie Van Wagenen who negotiated the deal, he is still impressed at the move from the Hov-helmed company. "Since Jay Z's name is synonymous with Roc Nation Sports, people automatically put that win with him," he noted. "Obviously it's the biggest move of the off-season, everybody was wondering where [Cano] was going to go."
Throughout his rap career Jay has had a number of high-profile rivalries with the likes of Nas, Mobb Deep and even Tupac when he was alive; and he's bringing some competitive fire to the sports world as well. In July, the rapper took a shot at the Boras on "Crown" and bragged about landing Cano as a client. "Scott Boras, you over baby/ Robinson Cano, you coming with me," he playfully rapped on the track, which appears on his latest Magna Carta... Holy Grail LP.
In August, the big-time baseball fixture fired back, suggesting that Jay was just a flash in the sports agency pan. "Anyone who thinks playing the game of baseball is like being an artist knows nothing about the game of baseball," he said. "I don't worry about others, because you know what, in the end, as always, there are few survivors in [the agency] game. This game is something that when you come, and you look, and you don't see--when you don't see, you're not here long."
Rap Radar's Miller is not only intrigued by the deal, but the brewing rivalry between Jay and Boras. "I think Scott Boras is the new Nas," he joked, drawing a comparison to Jigga's former rap foe. "I'm looking forward to the next Jay Z freestyle where he disses Scott Boras. I think Scott Boras is probably furious right now and Jay Z has 240 million reasons to smile."
Rojas, on the other hand, isn't investing too much stock in the baseball beef. "I don't think there's a rivalry here; I think it's just for the media especially because of the type of characters that are involved in this thing," he said. "Jay Z and Scott Boras love to talk and they love to be in the media and that's why it's more of a media thing."