Did Jay Z Cost Robinson Cano $50 Million?


Robinson Cano won’t be a Mariner after all, not that anyone truly believed the star second baseman was going to sign there despite a non-stop stream of updates on Thursday that Seattle was willing to pay him in the neighborhood of $225 million. The Daily News’ Mark Feinsand tweeted that the potential deal fell apart to Jay Z’s “excessive demands.” The other day, I wrote about what it might take to get Cano in Seattle, perhaps Jay actually asked for a gold-plated Boeing jet, so maybe that’s what happened.

More specifically, the News reports the Cano camp met with Seattle brass with at least an eight-year $200 million deal on the table. The Mariners were willing to go as high as $225 million for nine years but at the table Jay Z demanded a 10-year $252 million deal which caused Mariners’ president Howard Lincoln to “explode.” (Ken Rosenthal tweeted Jay Z wanted as much as $260 million.) If this is the case Jay Z’s negotiating looks to have costed his client around $50 million, since the reported deal on the table from the Yankees is $175 million for seven years.


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You have to wonder what exactly Jay Z is trying to accomplish. Does he not realize teams are trying to avoid handing out 10-year contracts to players already in their thirties? Is he obsessed with getting a deal worth more than the A-Rod and Albert Pujols contracts to prove a point? Cano is an MVP-caliber player, but is he worthy of the second-largest total contract in baseball history? Let’s come back to Earth here for a second, Jay.

Counter argument: perhaps Jay Z made the reported demand for the 10th year as a failsafe since he didn’t actually want Cano stuck in Seattle.

Jon Heyman writes on CBS, “A deal that seemed all-but-certain with Seattle may be on life support now.”

Either way, this looked like it was a smokescreen, pure-and-simple, to try to drum up the Yankees offer for Cano. New York reportedly doesn’t want to go over $175 million to retain the services of their best all-around player. If Jay Z wants to make a splash in his first high-profile baseball negotiation and hit some huge lump sum he saw flashing in his head, he had to find another team.

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As I’ve written about plenty in the past, Cano’s camp wants the moon and the stars but aren’t going to be able to get a bidding war going unless, say, the Dodgers trade Matt Kemp to clear some salary or a team like the Rangers swoops in from nowhere with an offer. It’s also very hard to believe Cano wants to play for any team but the Yankees. Jay Z sending his top sports client from his budding agency to the relative obscurity of the Pacific Northwest? It just didn’t seem logical, unless the Mariners were going to pay him that mythical $300 million contract floated early in the negotiating process.

If Cano wanted to go down this road on his own, perhaps he shouldn’t have fired Scott Boras in favor of Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports. Boras milked a $150 million contract for Jacoby Ellsbury from the Yanks, just think what he could have gotten for Cano? At the very least Boras’ savvy wouldn’t have let what reportedly happened in Seattle on Thursday night to transpire.

The Mariners are struggling for relevancy and have seen their attendance plummet since Safeco Field opened. The Cano move would make a splash, but by itself wouldn’t do a lot to move the team past the Athletics and Rangers in the American League West.

If the Yankees, as reported, are willing to offer seven years and $175 million is that really that bad of an offer? $25 million per year to play baseball for the most popular team in the country’s biggest city for seven years doesn’t seem too insulting, does it? If that’s the Yankees offer only A-Rod and Justin Verlander would be making more per year than Cano, with Ryan Howard, Felix Hernandez and Josh Hamilton each at an even $25 million per. Are two or three years really going to hold up the deal?

Brian Cashman is probably laughing uncontrollably at how this is playing out and waiting for the Cano camp to come crawling back, hat in hand.

Related: Jay-Z Gave Robinson Cano a $33,900 Watch, MLBPA Investigating for Possible Violation