jay-z getty

Jay-Z vs. Scott Boras


Jay-Z took Scott Boras’ big client away. And then dissed him on his album. But does he really have what it takes to make a real dent in the Boras Empire?

Well, that’s kind of a loaded question. And one which obscures the fact that, in reality, Jay-Z is not sitting down at a table to baseball general managers. There are people affiliated with his budding sports agency who are more experienced and proficient with all of that. Pitting Jay-Z himself against Scott Boras himself is a fun narrative, but one which ignores that each of them sit atop large operations employing a lot of professional folks who know what the heck they’re doing.

Which sort of explains why Boras himself, while offering a few jabs at Jay-Z in Jerry Crasnick’s excellent article about all of this, seems pretty zen about it all. Or as zen as he can pull off. He’s been working on his agency for 30 years and, whatever else you can say about Boras, “work” is the key word there. He hasn’t rested on his laurels or reputation. And while the Robinson Canos of the world may be sexy, Boras’ reputation and excellence is built just as much on how he handles the guys further down the marquee, in lesser cities than New York.

Not that Jay-Z is going to fail. Like I said: choosing between him and Boras is a false dichotomy borne of drama, not of baseball business reality. Ultimately, there’s enough room for more than one super agent in baseball. But it will be interesting to see how Jay-Z’s outfit does beyond the one big name he’s signed so far.

Anyway: It’s a good read and you should go check it out.

NL Wild Card Game: Cubs vs. Pirates lineups

Jake Arrieta

Here are the Cubs and Pirates lineups for tonight’s Wild Card game in Pittsburgh:

CF Dexter Fowler
RF Kyle Schwarber
LF Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
3B Tommy La Stella
2B Starlin Castro
C Miguel Montero
SS Addison Russell
SP Jake Arrieta

Cubs manager Joe Maddon wanted Tommy La Stella in the lineup over Jorge Soler or Chris Coghlan, so he starts at third base and Kris Bryant shifts to left field. Bryant started just four games in left field all season, compared to 136 starts at third base. Also of note: After batting Addison Russell ninth–behind the pitcher–116 times this season Maddon has him in the more traditional eighth spot tonight.

RF Gregory Polanco
3B Josh Harrison
CF Andrew McCutchen
LF Starling Marte
C Francisco Cervelli
2B Neil Walker
SS Jordy Mercer
1B Sean Rodriguez
SP Gerrit Cole

Pedro Alvarez started 119 games at first base for the Pirates and with right-hander Jake Arrieta on the mound he was the presumed starter tonight, but instead manager Clint Hurdle has benched the 27-homer slugger in favor of utility man Sean Rodriguez. Alvarez is vastly superior to Rodriguez offensively, especially versus a righty, but he’s also very shaky defensively. During the regular season Rodriguez started a grand total of one game at first base against a right-hander, so this qualifies as a hunch by Hurdle.

The Cardinals are optimistic about Yadier Molina’s status

St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina celebrates as he arrives home after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina‘s bum thumb responded well after participating in baseball activities Tuesday, including catching, hitting, blocking balls and the like.

This morning Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said that he’s now even more optimistic that Molina will be on the NLDS roster. The Cards’ first game will be Friday against the winner of tonight’s Cubs-Pirates tilt.

Having Molina would obviously be a boon for the Cardinals on the field. For a look at what Molina means to the Cardinals off the field, however, take some time to go read Derrick Goold’s excellent story about what Molina’s teammates think of him. Short version: the world. It’s worth your time, even if you’re not a citizen of Cardinals Nation.