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.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.