Jay-Z vs. Scott Boras

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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.

The Cubs send Kyle Schwarber to the minors

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Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.

Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.

Now this:

The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.

The A’s designate Stephen Vogt for assignment

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A surprising move out of Oakland: the Athletics have designated catcher Stephen Vogt for assignment.

Vogt is suffering through a bad season at the plate, hitting .217/.287/.357, so on the basis of pure performance it’s understandable that the A’s may want to part ways with the 32-year-old former All-Star. That said, Vogt is considered to be a leader in the Oakland clubhouse and is one of the last players remaining from the A’s 2013-14 playoff teams.

Catcher Bruce Maxwell has been recalled from Triple-A to take Vogt’s place on the roster. Main catching duties will belong to Josh Phegley.