Robinson Cano, meet Jay-Z.
Cano, the New York Yankees second baseman who can become a free agent at the end of the season, is changing his representation as he nears the biggest decision of his career.
He will be co-represented by CAA, a leading sports and entertainment agency, and Roc Nation Sports, a branch of a company founded by Jay-Z.
Jay-Z announced the launch of Roc Nation Sports as a full-service sports management company on Tuesday.
Cano, 30, previously was represented by Scott Boras, one of baseball’s most powerful agents.
“At this point in my career, I am ready to take a more active role in my endeavors both on and off the field,” Cano said in a statement.
“I am confident that the pairing of Roc Nation Sports and CAA Sports will be essential in helping me accomplish my short- and long-term goals. I am making this important decision now so I can keep my focus on helping the Yankees succeed in 2013, while minimizing any distractions for me and my teammates.”
It remains to be seen whether Cano’s decision will benefit the Yankees in their quest to re-sign him. Boras generally advises his clients against signing extensions before they reach free agency, preferring that they establish their values on the open market.
By affiliating with Jay-Z’s new company, Cano apparently wants to market himself outside of baseball, something that would best be accomplished in New York or Los Angeles, the nation’s two entertainment capitals.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are expected to pursue him if he becomes a free agent.
CAA has a strong history of keeping star players with their current clubs, as evidenced by the agency's deals for San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey and right-hander Matt Cain; Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun; Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman; Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier; Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard; and Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones.
“Because of my love of sports, it was a natural progression to form a company where we can help top athletes in various sports the same way we have been helping artists in the music industry for years,” Jay-Z said.
Cano, in his ninth season with the Yankees, has a .308 career batting average, 177 home runs and 715 RBIs. He finished fourth in the American League MVP voting last season while batting .313 with 33 homers and 94 RBI. He has two Gold Gloves as the AL's top defensive second baseman and four Silver Slugger Awards as the league's top offensive player at his position.
ESPN first reported the news that Cano had left Boras, who previously lost two other prominent Yankees, third baseman Alex Rodriguez and first baseman Mark Teixeira, after negotiating monster free-agent deals for them with the club.
More Stories From Ken Rosenthal