So I waited all day to see if there was anything worth writing about, some human interest story or something of some long-term interest, and the only thing anyone’s talking about is Robinson Cano switching agents. And I guess, due to Cano’s recent WBC play and MVP award and his coming Free Agency, this is very important to both Cano and the Yankees, and thus is important for Yankees fans and all the major news outlets. But I suppose what makes it more significant is that he cut ties with agent Scott Boras, who’s known as a fearless shark in the sports world, to sign with Roc Nation (under agency conglomerate CAA), an entertainment representative company co-founded by musician and sports enthusiast (and co-owner of the Brooklyn Nets) Jay-Z.
Cano was quoted as wanting to have more say in his negotiations, something based on recent ex-client revelations doesn’t happen very often with Boras’ clients. And perhaps, Cano felt like with the discussion of a contract extension with the Yankees wasn’t progressing the way he wanted it to. Honestly, Cano has all but come right out and said he wants to retire in pinstripes, so (and I’m really guessing here) I think Boras would rather hold out for a higher paycheck than see Cano return to the Yankees for, to be frank, what he will be worth over the next few years. Boras has gotten some really ridiculous numbers for some of his other clients, like Albert Pujols, Joey Votto, and even Alex Rodriguez. (It should be noted that Rodriguez was in the middle of firing Boras himself when he had his contract with the Yankees renegotiated in 2007, partly due to Boras’ insistence that Rodriguez be shopped elsewhere for more money. Sunday’s NY Times had an article on this dispute.)
What I like already about the new deal is how his new agency has made it very clear that negotiations are private and that they are looking to Cano to guide his own direction for the contract, something that I think will be a vastly different direction than recent representation.
I think a lot of people don’t realize that every professional athlete has an agent to negotiate their contracts for them with teams, like Jerry Maguire (with less screaming), and not just the big superstars, everyone has one. These agents do a lot of the hard work, while their clients can focus on playing their sport.
In addition to the sports agent, players often have a business manager who handles their finances. This person invests their millions to turn what could be an easy spending spree into a lifetime of invested income. There are so many tales of athletes who blow through their cash, thinking it’s going to last forever, when suddenly an injury ends their career and they have no income and no way to live at the age of 30. The business manager can be a lifesaver for athletes who may have never had to live on a budget or had to hire personnel (like personal security) or buy a house to live in.
Now, I personally hate doing the “money stuff” every month, and if I could hire someone to pay my bills and make sure I have money in my account, I wouldn’t think twice about doing so. If I could hire someone to negotiate my paycheck with my employer and see if he could get me a better deal on the amount of work I do and the expectation that I’m going to just keep getting better at my job, I would hire that person in a heartbeat. I think we forget how many people go into making what we see on the field (or the television screen, as the case may be) happen — from agents and managers, to family and friends, to coaches and teachers, to owners and groundskeepers, to vendors and janitors. And while we may only remember the 18-ish men in uniform, those men are ever grateful for the work of everyone else in their lives to give them the freedom to do their job and to do so with the best of their ability.