Did new agent Jay Z of Roc Nation recently commit his first misstep with star MLB client Robinson Cano? According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, the answer to that question is yes, as he’s being investigated by the Major League Baseball Players Association for a possible rules violation.
Per the report, Jay Z gave Cano a watch valued at $33,900 as a gift. To confirm, let’s look at Cano’s instagram picture, posted two weeks ago:
Um, yeah, that’s a gift from his agent. He even thanked the agency on his page, saying, “thanks to the ROC NATION my birthday gift.”
And now the MLBPA rule:
Section 5(B)(5)(a): “No Player Agent or Applicant shall provide, cause to be provided or promise to provide, any money or any other thing of value to any player, or any person related to or associated with such player, the purpose of which is to induce or encourage such player to use or continue to use any person’s or firm’s services as a Player Agent, Representative, or Draft Advisor.”
The rule is there to prevent agents from retaining players simply by showering them with gifts.
If Jay Z is found in violation of the rule — and, really, after that Cano photo posted to instagram by Cano himself and specifically said it’s a gift, it’s hard to see how he won’t — he faces “unspecified discipline,” according to Crasnick.
I guess they could technically argue it was a gift from a friend to a friend, and not with the purpose of encouraging Cano to stay with Jay Z, but that’s a slippery slope.
Cano, 31, is the rockstar of this free agent class, definitely due to grab a nine-figure, long-term deal. He was quite a grab for Jay Z’s first MLB client.