April 3 (Bloomberg) -- Robinson Cano fired agent Scott Boras and signed with entertainer Shawn “Jay Z” Carter, who is starting an athlete representation firm with the New York Yankees’ All-Star second baseman as its first client.
Roc Nation Sports and Creative Artists Agency will co-represent Cano, a free agent after this Major League Baseball season.
The switch to Carter, a Yankees fan and friend to some of the team’s players including third baseman Alex Rodriguez, makes it more probable that Cano will remain in pinstripes, said former Yankees coach Larry Bowa, an analyst for MLB Network.
“Knowing Robby, he wants to be a Yankee,” Bowa, who was with the Yankees as a coach in 2006-2007, said yesterday in a telephone interview. “I don’t think he wants this to play out the whole year.
‘‘No knock on Scott -- most of his clients have gotten very nice contracts -- but Robby is not the kind of guy to let it linger,’’ Bowa said.
Cano, a four-time All-Star, hit .313 with 33 home runs and 94 runs batted in last season, and was fourth in balloting for the American League’s Most Valuable Player award. He’s in the final year of a six-year contract that baseball-reference.com said is worth $57 million.
Boras didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment on Cano’s move.
Carter, an investor in basketball’s Brooklyn Nets, has won 17 Grammy Awards and sold more than 33 million albums, according to answers.com. His song, ‘‘Empire State of Mind,” includes the lyrics, “I made the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can.”
“There is no prohibition on NBA owners having an interest in businesses that represent non-NBA athletes,” National Basketball Association spokesman Mike Bass said in an e-mailed message.
The 30-year-old Cano said in the statement that he wants to take a more active role in on- and off-field endeavors. He wasn’t specific.
“Seems like guys are establishing themselves as corporations,” Bowa said. “The really good players, their broad scope is beyond baseball and Robby fits that mode.”
Shawn Bryant, a former NBA executive who specialized in player marketing, says athletes would look to piggyback on Jay-Z’s cache and cool factor, which advertisers covet to reach a younger demographic.
“This goes to the intersection of sports and entertainment,” Bryant said in a telephone interview. “Jay is at the forefront of building his brand and dealing with advertisers. It’s a world he’s already operating in, just leveraging relationships he has already.”
Cano’s baseball matters will be handled by agent Brodie Van Wagenen, according to the statement. Since the start of the 2011 season, CAA’s baseball group has negotiated more than $1.1 billion in major league contracts, including four $100 million deals, according to the statement.
It’s the latest defection from Boras, one of the game’s most influential agents. Boras used to represent Rodriguez, who is halfway through a 10-year, $275 million contract, the richest in U.S. sports.
“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,” Carter said in a statement.
Carter has received limited certification from the baseball players’ union to act as a marketing representative. The union created the limited designation in 2010 to combat the proliferation of people acting as marketing agents on behalf of players.
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