Agent Brodie Van Wagenen is the man whom will lead Robinson Cano's new negotiations. Jay-Z is, of course, the headliner in Cano's new choice of agents, but it will be Van Wagenen who is the point man in talks with Hal Steinbrenner, Randy Levine and Brian Cashman.
Scott Boras is known for leading the charge with his player. Van Wagenen's approach is different. It is what Cano wants, not what CAA, Jay-Z or anyone else does.
"I think that every situation is unique and our process is to outline a strategy that helps the client achieve his goals, not ours," Van Wagenen told ESPN New York. "We will certainly do the same for Robinson as we have done for other players in the past. Where that leads, certainly time will tell."
Van Wagenen was quick to say don't draw any conclusions, but the timeline points to Cano making the agent move to remain a Yankee. In the last few weeks, coinciding with Boras-Cano rejecting the Yankees' initial "significant" offer and Robinson's father, Jose, saying he expected a deal to be done with the Yankees, Cano began to look for new representation. Van Wagenen said CAA and Jay-Z made a close connection with Cano's family.
We will not fully know Cano's reasons until he speaks Wednesday, but his choice would indicate that he would like to get a deal done sooner rather than later. Boras usually takes big-name free agents to the market when they are one year away, while CAA, Van Wagenen's agency, has done numerous early deals, most recently with Buster Posey.
"Is it possible for him to sign with the Yankees? Of course, it is possible," Van Wagenen said. "He doesn’t become a free agent until November. There is a lot of time between now and then where all sorts of variables could impact whether or not he ultimately re-signs with the Yankees or becomes a free agent."
As for Jay-Z, he will be "intimately" involved in the negotiations, but the on-field contract is Van Wagenen's domain.
"Generally speaking, any contract negotiation and the timing of the deal is subject to a risk vs. reward analysis," Van Wagenen said. "Players have to make that decision for themselves and the player drives that decision-making process. Our job is to help present them with an understanding of where their value is and build a game plan of how they can achieve it. Ultimately, the player has to be comfortable with what the opportunities are given the marketplace he finds himself."
As for Boras, a source told ESPN New York that Cano had recently signed a player-agent representation contract. Those deals allow a player to find a new agent, but the contract could still yield Boras a percentage.
"I’m not going to get into the contract that Robinson may or may or not had with Scott," Van Wagenen said. "But Robinson absolutely does have a current player-agent designation form that is in good standing with us and the players’ association."
In any negotiation, it is not wise to assume until a deal is done, but Cano loves being a Yankee and this move could make him one for life.
"What I can say about Robinson’s goals is that the New York Yankees and the fans have been great to him and he has flourished in pinstripes and loves the team and the city," Van Wagenen said. "His primary focus is being a good teammate and helping this organization win games. That’s his primary focus. The business realities that he faces in the coming months will not be a factor that will impact his goals of achieving success and greatness on the field with his teammates."