What the Robinson Cano Meeting Meant

No doubt you heard the news that Jay-Z — who I understand is some kind of a pop star turned baseball agent — had dinner with Jeff Wilpon and, at some point between the shrimp cocktail and Fernet Branca (who are we kidding? they probably ordered some crappy single-malt bourbon), discussed a young man named Robinson Cano. Did this dinner and discussion mean anything?

Apparently, the pop star / music man’s brief on the Mets didn’t include any information post-2007. Because if it did, Jay-Z would have known that spending ten minutes sharing a Mr. Softee ice cream with Jeff Wilpon would have been a waste of his time. I guess Mr. Z (not to be confused with the “other” JZ, Jonathan Zizmor) thought a leaked-to-the-press dinner with the Mets COO would have caused Yankees management to shake in their boots. And it might have, 6-7 years ago. But today? Brian Cashman likely chuckled, thinking, “wow, they’re stupid, desperate, or both.”

Then again, maybe Jay-Z was simply hungry, and appreciated a free meal (though from what my young friends tell me, despite heading a start-up sports agency, he’s not hurting for cash). Had he done his homework, Jay-Z would have known that the Mets can’t afford Jhonny Peralta, much less Robinson Cano. Granted, he might not have known at that point that the Mets couldn’t even afford $2.5M to bring back LaTroy Hawkins, but, gee whiz, did he really think — for even a second — that the Mets would throw their hat in a $300M+ ring? Robinson Cano may very well be the best second baseman on the planet, but even if his price was “only” $100M, that would have been too rich for their budget. And/or, the long-term commitment would have been too lengthy for the current GM’s “plan” (or so we would assume, per his public statements over the past two years).

What if Jay-Z was perfectly aware of these limitations? What, then, was the point of asking for a meeting with the Mets, and leaking it to the press? Did he think it might drive outside interest in Cano? Did he merely want to keep Cano in the headlines? Was he hoping against hope that Jeff Wilpon would be bowled over and make an impulsive decision or say something that could help Cano’s negotiations with the Yankees — even if the quote was unrealistic?

Honestly, I’m curious, and would love to hear your thoughts. What did Jay-Z and Robinson Cano have to gain by meeting with the Mets? Answer in the comments.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. izzy November 21, 2013 at 11:14 am
    I don’t think they had dreams of a bidding war between the New York clubs. New agency with hopes for lots of clients, building a relationship with a club it hopes someday is in good financial shape. They got a lot of free publicity, and all of the bad publicity went to the Mets, not JayZ. And they got to try out their Cano pitch beofre they show it to real bidders. From the Mets side, their arrogance led them to believe the word would leak that the mets are really trying to get top guys. Once again, mets lose.
    • e marie November 21, 2013 at 2:32 pm
      Sandy doesn,t look bad. He said he was not going to spend over a $100mil. They saw Jay-Z as because they asked. Why be rude!
  2. DanB November 21, 2013 at 1:02 pm
    The true message was to mid-market teams. If Jay-Z would meet with the Mets, he will meet with anyone. He shows his agency is not just about stars but rolling up the sleeves and doing the dirty work with any team. Good job by him. And the thoughts of Jeff Wilpon googling Jay-Z on the drive over to dinner makes me grin.
  3. crozier November 21, 2013 at 9:07 pm
    “Single malt bourbon”? Now you’re just being obscure.

    I have nothing useful to offer to the Cano topic. The dinner was a courtesy, the Mets won’t/can’t sign him, etc. Oh, also, I wouldn’t want Cano for 8 years anyway, if that means anything to anyone.

    I do find your stating that the Mets “couldn’t even afford” to pay Hawkins $2.5 million unnecessarily snide, even as a joke. Alderson got a decent season from Hawkins for cheap, and is betting he won’t repeat it, so why pay more? And he’s probably right.

  4. argonbunnies November 22, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    Jay-Z hasn’t done this before. He needed a warm-up. So, naturally, he looked for a team he’d never be peddling marquee players to, just in case he flopped. He probably should have picked the tiny-payroll Rays, but may have been intimidated by their success.