Jay-Z Robinson Cano Geno Smith

Jay-Z will be a good agent because of his drug dealing past, he says

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I think it’s cute how Jay-Z is being portrayed as an agent lately. Yes, he’s licensed now and certified by the leagues and all of that so it is proper to call him an agent. But his company, Roc Nation, is partnered with Creative Artists Agency to do Robinson Cano’s contract negotiations, for example, and he is hiring people with sports experience to handle the day-to-day. Because, no matter what you think of Jay-Z, the guy is smart and savvy and probably knows his limitations. And he probably has more glamorous and exciting things to do than to play phone tag with Brian Cashman all November.

That said, he has some things going for him as an agent that his competitors don’t have. Such as unique life experience. Here he is explaining to Vanity Fair how his younger days will help him represent athletes in his new endeavors as an agent:

Jay’s checkered past taught him a few things that he says will come in handy in his new role as a sports agent: “I know about budgets. I was a drug dealer,” he tells Robinson. “To be in a drug deal, you need to know what you can spend, what you need to re-up. Or if you want to start some sort of barbershop or car wash—those were the businesses back then. Things you can get in easily to get out of [that] life. At some point, you have to have an exit strategy, because your window is very small; you’re going to get locked up or you’re going to die.”

That last point is probably most germane. Explaining to athletes that they have to plan for the future because an athlete’s future is pretty short too, relatively speaking. He probably can tell athletes, with more authority than anyone, how to take care of the present and plan for the future because of the small earning window they have. Sure, a lawyer could tell an athlete that, but the lawyer is probably making the most money in his life at age 55 or something and it may ring a bit hollow for that reason.

Report: Royals and Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Eric Hosmer #35 of the Kansas City Royals and the American League rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the National League in the 2nd inning of the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.

Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.

Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.

Yankees sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 17:  Jonathon Niese #49 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 17, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images
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Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.

According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.

Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.