Baseball super-agent Scott Boras has been dumped by Yankee headliners before. But one of those former clients, Alex Rodriguez, didn’t stop to talk to reporters after visiting fellow players during batting practice Wednesday. And another, Mark Teixeira, made a point of saying how different the landscape is for potential free agents since Boras negotiated his deal with the Yankees in 2009.
“I told [Boras] what I wanted for my career when we saw, at a very early age, in 2005, I was already fitted for pinstripes,” Teixeira said. “Because, in my third year in baseball, I had 43 home runs and had a great year and everybody said, ‘Well, Mark, you’re not going to be a Ranger for much longer.’ So I had guys, every day, asking me, ‘When are you going to get traded? When are you going to leave for free agency?’
“And, you know, the Yankees, at the time, were one of the only teams that could provide the type of contract, the type of stability — no-trade clause — and winning every year. Now it seems like every team has that kind of money, but when I was a free agent, not that long ago, there were only a few teams you could go to. And the Yankees were losing their first baseman, so, free agency, Scott and I talked about it from a very young age: ‘Let’s listen, let’s just see what’s out there.’
“We took offers. The Rangers made me an offer, the Braves made me an offer, but they weren’t what we thought the market value was, and we ended up going to a great place.”
What Robinson Cano is attempting to do, by suddenly dropping Boras to become the first client in hip-hop mogul Jay-Z’s new Roc Nation Sports agency, neither Teixeira nor manager Joe Girardi wanted to guess.
“I don’t want to speculate,” Teixeira said. “I know, as a teammate, I want him to be a Yankee. I have no idea what it means. The only think I can say is, I want Robbie around.”
Might Cano’s ditching of Boras, known for pushing general managers to the edge and sometimes over it in free-agent negotiations, signal that Cano is more likely to re-sign with the Yankees than test the free-agent waters at the end of the season?
“I don’t know what would make Robbie necessarily want to leave,” Girardi said before Wednesday night’s game. “He’s had a lot of success here and he’s loved here. But that’s something you worry about down the road. We have 161 games before we have to worry about that.”
Whether switching agents will boost Cano’s bargaining power, Girardi said, “I think Robbie’s probably going to be represented pretty well [by anyone]. He’s a guy that’s had some pretty good numbers.”
Girardi said he isn’t concerned that Cano’s ties to a giant in the entertainment business will steal anything from Cano’s baseball commitment.
“Robbie loves to play this game,” Girardi said. “When a guy changes agents, I don’t think it necessarily changes the guy. It changes his representation but it doesn’t change who Robbie Cano is. Everything I’ve seen from Robbie is he loves to play this game and is prepared to play every day. I don’t see why changing agents would change that unless he’s got some recording issues that he has to deal with [smiling]. I haven’t heard he’s putting out an album yet. If he did, I wouldn’t be the first one to buy it, I can guarantee that.”
Boras, meanwhile, told Newsday’s David Lennon that he was unaware of any problems in his relationship with Cano and had not spoken to Cano about the player’s decision. (Cano, asked if he planned to speak to Boras, said, “No answer on that one. How’s that?”
Just two weeks ago, Cano had renewed his contract with Boras for a second time. Based on that agreement, Boras is entitled to a percentage of whatever Cano is paid in a subsequent deal.
Cano declined to give specifics on his decision. He first met Shawn Carter, the man whose stage name is Jay-Z and who rapped the lyric “I made the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can,” when Cano joined the Yankees in 2005. What he likes about Jay-Z, Cano said, is “everything.”
Might Jay-Z teach Cano how to rap? “I wish,” Cano said.