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.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.
Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.
Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.
The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.