Jay-Z reportedly “intimately involved” in Robinson Cano’s free agency

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Lots of people talked about Jay-Z as if he’d be handling all of the details of Robinson’s Cano’s free agency. Then a lot of people subtly reminded folks that, in reality, Cano is being represented by both Jay-Z and CAA, and CAA has a lot more experience in such matters, suggesting that Jay-Z is more of the marketing side of things as opposed to the “create contract incentives tied to baseball minutiae” side of things.

But today some pushback on that from the Daily News, which reported on Cano’s CAA agent’s appearance on MLB Network Radio on Sirius/XM yesterday:

Jay Z, the hip-hop mogul who’s added sports agent to his entrepreneurial pursuits, hasn’t said anything about Robinson Cano’s free agency since his biggest client hit baseball’s open market.

But the rapper/repper is “intimately involved in all areas” of the process, according to the man who is leading the negotiations for Cano’s side, CAA’s Brodie Van Wagenen.

Who knows.

See, what I’d do is keep it all really vague until Cano signs. If it’s a great deal, I’d come forward and say how involved I was. If it sucked, I’d say it was the baseball people who screwed it all up and that I was more focused on branding and things.

But hey, if you want to assume Jay-Z and his people know more about public relations and image building and such than a 40 year-old guy who lives with his kids in the suburbs, be my guest.

Evan Longoria: “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base.”

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The Rays were busy over the weekend, trading starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, designating All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, and then picking up C.J. Cron in a deal with the Angels. The Rays saved about $4 million — Odorizzi’s $6.3 million less Cron’s $2.3 million salary — and picked up a prospect. They’re still on the hook for Dickerson’s $5.95 million salary until they can find a trade partner, which seems likely.

Those are some head-scratching moves if you’re a Rays fan or a member of the Rays. Dickerson hit .282/.325/.490 with 27 home runs, 62 RBI, and 84 runs scored in 629 plate appearances last season, part of which resulted in his first trip to the All-Star Game. Designating him for assignment is strictly a financial move, assuming he can be traded. The Rays are currently operating with a payroll below $70 million. This comes just a week and a half after Rays ownership proposed the public footing most of the bill for the club’s new stadium. And the Rays had traded third baseman Evan Longoria — then the face of the franchise — to the Giants earlier this offseason.

Longoria expressed sympathy for Rays fans for having to put up with this. Via Andrew Baggarly, Longoria said of the curious Dickerson move, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base. … I’m not going to take too many shots but it’s pretty obvious that guy is a valuable player and didn’t deserve to be DFAd. Corey was our best player last year.”

Longoria isn’t quite on the money there. By WAR, Dickerson ranked fifth among position players on the team, according to Baseball Reference. FanGraphs is also in agreement. Still, it’s indisputable that Dickerson, who turns 29 years old this May, more than pulled his weight. The Rays do not have a surfeit of starting outfielders, so it wasn’t like they were making room for other capable players. Mallex Smith, who put up a .684 OPS in 282 PA last year, is slated to start in left field at the moment. Designating Dickerson for assignment, as well as trading Longoria and Odorizzi, were simply cost-cutting decisions.

The Rays’ M.O. has been part of the problem leading to the current stagnant free agent market (sans Eric Hosmer‘s eight-year deal on Saturday). Teams like the Rays, Phillies, Reds, and Tigers have been explicitly putting out non-competitive teams in order to facilitate a rebuilding process. Longoria is right to express sympathy for Rays fans, who see their favorite team worsening a roster that went 80-82 last year. The Rays haven’t finished at .500 or above since 2013 and doesn’t figure to halt the streak this year.