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.

The Astros’ pursuit of Sonny Gray is “heating up”

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Jon Morosi of MLB Networks reports that talks are “heating up” between the Astros and Athletics on a Sonny Gray trade. Gray, obviously, would represent a big upgrade for the Astros’ rotation. He has a 3.66 ERA and has struck out 85 batters while walking 28 in 91 innings.

Morosi adds that Gray is not the only option for the Astros, as they are also talking to the Tigers about a potential acquisition of Justin Verlander and Justin Wilson. That would obviously be a much tougher deal to negotiate given Verlander’s 10/5 rights giving him veto power over any trade, not to mention the massive amount of money he’s still owed on his contract.

Also: I’m pretty sure that it’s in the MLB rules that any trade between the Tigers and the Astros has to involve Brad Ausmus, C.J. Nitkowski and Jose Lima, and that’s not possible given their current occupations and/or their deaths in 2010.

Marlins trade David Phelps to the Mariners for four prospects

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The Miami Marlins have sent reliever David Phelps to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for four prospects. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand and Ken Rosenthal had rumors of the deal first, Jon Morosi, Jeff Passan and Jon Heyman (among others) all reported the trade at virtually the same time.

Phelps, 30, had a fantastic 2016 season, posting a 2.28 ERA in 64 games while striking out 11.8 batters per nine innings. He’s not been as strong this year, but he’s still been a solid setup man, posting a 3.45 ERA in 44 games while striking out 51 batters and walking 21 in 47 innings. He throws in the mid-90s and induces grounders. The Mariners could probably use rotation help more than bullpen help, but solid innings are solid innings at one point and improving your pen takes some of the pressure off of your rotation. Phelps will help Seattle with that. He’s under team control for next year too, so this is more than a rental.

The top prospect in the deal is Brayan Hernandez, a 19 year-old outfielder from Venezuela, currently playing in low-A ball. Also in the deal: righty Brandon Miller, righty Pablo Lopez and righty Lucas Schiraldi who, yes, is the son of ex-big leaguer Calvin Schiraldi. None of these guys are blue chippers, but you never know what’ll happen. It’s a volume return for the Fish.

We’ve already seen some big bullpen names move, including David Robertson, Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. Among others who could be moved:  A.J. Ramos (Marlins); Justin Wilson (Tigers); Addison Reed (Mets); Jerry Blevins (Mets); Brad Hand (Padres); Tony Watson (Pirates); Juan Nicasio (Pirates); Brad Brach (Orioles); Drew Storen (Reds); and Raisel Iglesias (Reds).