The following is a transcription from Friday’s Toucher & Rich show, edited only for clarity and brevity.
Rich Shertenlieb: Robinson Cano had a deal that was pretty much on the table and his for the taking with the Seattle Mariners. It was basically an eight-year deal for $200 million, but it sounded like Seattle was willing to go nine years, $225 million.
Well, in rolls Jay-Z. Jay-Z shows up yesterday, rolls up and says, “Ya know what? I got a superstar here in Robinson Cano. You don’t know who you’re talking about. I want 10 years, $252 million, or he’s walking.”
And the Mariners’ CEO Howard Lincoln said, “Well, see ya, I don’t want you anymore.”
Fred Toucher: … and he said what the hell else do we have to do? We’re not on the moon. This is a nice part of the country.
Cano is not on every commercial. Why is it so important that he stays in New York?! They act like if he leaves New York … what commercial is he doing?! When do you see Robinson Cano anywhere?!
What is going on? And the baseball writers are so New York-centric, they’re like, what’s going to happen to him? I don’t know, he’ll live a nice life, with his hundreds of millions of dollars, in a tax-free state.
If I’m the Mariners, I’m saying, “Why can’t I give you money? Why won’t you take my money?”
Rich: What’s great is, now how many suitors does Robinson Cano have?
Fred: Because Jay-Z doesn’t want him to leave the Yankees, he doesn’t want to leave the Yankees, and the Mariners are saying they’re not going to prop up people’s prices anymore. You’re hurting the brand.
Rich: And the amount of money that the Yankees were offering was believed to be $175 million for seven years. So you just lost potentially $50 million by letting Jay-Z be your agent.
Fred: Well he can’t leave New York. There are such great opportunities for him there, the way he’s on TV all the time. I mean, he was on Letterman never. I mean, he has all those opportunities out there. He’s taking advantage of all those media opportunities, the way he was never in any magazines.
Yeah, Cano has transcended everything. You show my wife a picture of Robinson Cano … he’s real famous outside the world of sports.
It goes Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano.
“But his numbers wouldn’t be as good in Seattle.” What do I care if I’m Robinson Cano? I could be horrible for the rest of my career, what am I playing for at that point? I’ll just find another dumbass in nine years to give me more money again.
Rich: If you are the CEO of the Mariners, and Jay-Z comes in and says that, when you just offered him nine years and $225 million, and Jay-Z says, “Not good enough”? Double freedom rockets, right at ya.
Fred: I’d say yeah, have fun. We’re not on Timbuktu here. This is the Pacific Northwest. This is a major media market. It’s a nice place to live. There’s no state tax! If you’re dumb enough to not take this money then go, go play for the Yankees, we’ll be perfectly fine. We’re not the Angels.
Rich: They say that apparently Jay-Z is marketing him as the “Michael Jordan of baseball.”
Fred: Yeah, and Jon Wallach’s the Michael Jordan of Bryant basketball announcers.
Rich: You know what? I can see Robinson Cano as the star of the next “Space Jam,” because all the kids love Robinson Cano.
Fred: You know, Jay-Z, just because you say you have a plan for a guy doesn’t make the guy charismatic, it doesn’t make the guy marketable. Just because you say he is.
Rich: Robinson Cano, you’re not even the biggest star on your team!
Fred: Oh, by a long shot. CC Sabathia’s a bigger star than him.
Rich: Derek Jeter, obviously, is the biggest star in baseball.
Fred: A-Rod’s a bigger star than him. Cano’s like an Ellsbury.
Rich: I would even argue that more people would recognize Mark Teixeira than they would Robinson Cano.
Fred: Well Ichiro has an international profile. When you have a whole massive country of reporters, that tends to help the brand.
Good. Good for Seattle. I don’t know what the hell’s going on.
Rich: Yeah, that just made me smile.
Fred: I guess Jay-Z’s tentacles are so long in this nation that he can’t market a guy that plays in the Pacific Northwest. Meanwhile, Russell Wilson is taking all his money, he’s making endorsement money and he’s going, “What’s the problem?”
They can take a third-round pick out of Wisconsin and turn him into a mega-superstar, but you can’t — with all your connections and everything — make it work for a perennial all-star?
I don’t get why people get so New York-centric. I don’t understand it. Like do you think Miguel Cabrera in Detroit — which is a cesspool, let’s be honest — is sitting there like, “Wow, I’m missing out on a lot of marketing opportunities”?
When Peyton Manning was in Indianapolis, which everyone knows is the cultural Mecca of the United States … it makes Detroit look like Paris.
Rich: Well if only he was in New York, he’d get some ads. And LeBron James, when he was in Cleveland, he didn’t get any endorsements. You gotta play in New York to get that.
Fred: “Well he’s not going to hit as many home runs?” Well, who cares? You’re such a marketing genius, market him. You’ve got a nice base line: He’s a perennial all-star, his dad pitches to him at the Home Run Derby, and he’s worth $250 million. What’s the problem?
Rich: What a dumbass. I just keep thinking about them … why would he get rid of Scott Boras? I’m looking at the magic that Scott Boras has pulled out of his ass …
Fred: It seems like Boras is being cute now. It seems to me like he got Ellsbury to sign in New York just to be cute. Like this means nothing to me, it’s all a game.
Here’s what happens: When Cano eventually re-signs with the Yankees, I want someone on the case every single — even if it’s for Seaman’s Furniture — I want to know every dollar that guy makes in endorsements, because I bet it’s up there with me.
Rich: You know what, sir? You’re the sixth-most popular Yankee. We want you. You’re going to be the face of Cheerios.
Fred: Out of all the athletes in New York, I would say you’re at least top 30. So let’s make it happen, what can I do for you?
Rich: In the NBA, I can name about five players who are more popular than you right now.
Fred: Yeah, you’ve got kind of a Muhammad Wilkerson kind of thing happening for you, in terms of your hierarchy in the New York Sports media base.