Jay-Z is trying to sell Robinson Cano “as Michael Jordan, not as a baseball player”

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Mark Feinsand of the Daily News quotes a baseball insider as critical of the way Jay-Z and his team are trying to sell Robinson Cano in free agency:

“They’re selling him as Michael Jordan, not as a baseball player,” said a major-league official familiar with Cano’s situation. “As a guy that’s going to be a big rock star and bring all these fans in. Last year, that wasn’t the case.”

Maybe the source is just being catty. But if that is the pitch that Jay-Z has for Cano, it seems pretty misguided for a baseball player.

As the insider’s quote suggests, one player never makes the difference, on the field or in the ratings. Just ask the 2013 Yankees, who were basically the Cano Show by default. And baseball people know that by now. A pitch that hinges on Cano being paid differently than his teammates is one thing. If it has him being treated differently — if it has him committing to things beyond simply playing second base and knocking the cover off of baseballs every night — than suitors are going to be turned off, I suspect.

Dominic Smith likely to start the season at Triple-A

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Following the Mets’ recent signing of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that fellow first baseman Dominic Smith is likely to start the season with Triple-A Las Vegas. That is contingent, of course, on the veteran Gonzalez’s ability to remain healthy, which isn’t a guarantee.

Smith, 22, struggled last season, batting .198/.262/.395 in 183 plate appearances. The Mets have also expressed concern about Smith’s conditioning. Puma reported in November that as a result of better dietary choices and a daily exercise regimen, Smith had already lost 11-12 pounds.

Gonzalez, 35, didn’t exactly have a stellar 2017 campaign. Along with battling back issues, Gonzalez hit .242/.287/.355 in 252 PA. That the Mets’ Plan A is to go with Gonzalez over Smith says something about their confidence in Smith.