Daily Distractions: Time to forget about Robinson Cano?

Robinson Cano rocks a Cleveland Cavaliers sweater while bro-hugging Jay-Z at a Cavs playoff game in 2009. C.C. Sabathia (right) photo-bombs. Which of them will be Yankees in 2013?    (Getty Images)

If Robinson Cano isn’t the Dodgers’ second baseman next year, blame Jay-Z. A little.

More accurately, you might blame Cano for switching agents this week, from Boras Corp. to the brand-new Roc Nation Sports Agency, a Jay-Z creation. Cano is Roc Nation’s first client.

Jay-Z is not Cano’s agent — in fact, Cano will be represented by CAA’s Brodie Van Wagenen. CAA and Roc Nation have some sort of a working agreement and it’s unclear how the particulars of that arrangement shake out. Regardless, here’s what we know:

1. Jay-Z is a Yankees fan who would probably like to see his team re-sign its best player.
2. CAA is less likely to usher its star clients onto the free-agent market than Boras.

FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal asked Van Wagenen the question on every Dodger fan’s mind: Will Cano hit free agency when his contract expires at the end of the season, or will he re-sign with the Yankees before then?

Cano, who is eligible for free agency at the end of the season, enjoys playing for the Yankees and is open to staying with the club.

“New York and Yankees fans have been great for Robbie,” Van Wagenen said. “He has flourished in pinstripes and loved his time in the city. His primary focus is continuing to represent that brand and help his team win games.

“Is there an opening for him to explore a contract? You know us. We’re not going to talk publicly about that. We certain will continue to work diligently to help him achieve his goals both on and off the field.”

There isn’t much to read into there, but it’s probably time to line up a Plan B in your fantasy 2014 Dodgers lineup. The Dodgers hold a club option for their current second baseman and number-two hitter, Mark Ellis, once his contract expires after this season. Ellis turns 36 in June. His age, and his career .265/.331/.394 slash line, are why no one is clamoring for the Dodgers to exercise that option — even if Ellis is the team’s best defensive infielder.
As for other second basemen who could become free agents at the end of the season, the Rays hold an option on Ben Zobrist; Chase Utley will be 35; Brian Roberts will be 36; and there’s always Nick Punto and Skip Schumaker. (Full list courtesy of MLBTradeRumors.com).
Some bullet points:
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Dodgers turn to Hollywood for their Opening Day introduction video.

Dodgers logoAfter Tommy Lasorda told Maury Wills to launch a ball from Arizona to California, the Dodgers’ pregame video took a celebrity turn. An ecletic group of sports and entertainment figures appeared on the new high-definition video screens to herald the new season.

Below is a list of all everyone who did or said something Dodgers-related in the video. Who did you recognize? Who would you have left out? Discuss:
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Forbes values Dodgers at $1.615 billion.

Dodgers logoThe Dodgers are still not worth as much as their purchase price, according to Forbes magazine’s latest MLB franchise valuations released Wednesday.

Forbes places the Dodgers’ value at $1.615 billion, less than the $2 million paid a year ago by Guggenheim Baseball Management but more than the $1.37 billion the franchise was valued at a year ago.

Among all MLB teams the Dodgers are second only to the Yankees, valued at $2.3 billion, and one of only four billion-dollar franchises along with the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs.

Forbes’ list of values for all 30 teams can be found here.

Of the Dodgers, Forbes writes:
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Daily Distractions: Dr. Frank Jobe recognized in Cooperstown; Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier help Cleveland.

Thomas Tull

“42″ producer Thomas Tull, right, with Cal Ripken. (baseballhall.org)

The National Baseball Hall of Fame won’t induct any new members this year, but its annual Awards Presentation will have a Dodgers theme.

On July 27 in Cooperstown, the Museum will pay tribute to Legendary Pictures founder and CEO Thomas Tull and his soon-to-be-released film “42”, which documents and pays homage to Brooklyn Dodgers great Jackie Robinson. The film will be released nationwide on Friday, April 12, just in advance of baseball’s Jackie Robinson Day on April 15.

The Museum will also recognize former Dodgers team physician Frank Jobe for the development of Tommy John surgery, a now-common elbow ligament replacement procedure. John, the former Dodgers pitcher who won 288 games in his 26-year major league career, will join Dr. Jobe for the special recognition.

I attended a special screening of “42″ last week and it seemed to be well-received by both the media and the Dodgers players and execs in attendance. I’m guessing it won’t be seen as a flop three months after its release.

Some bullet points for a Friday morning:

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Vin Scully isn’t cutting out any road trips in 2013. Will he add another?

Vin Scully’s 64th season as the voice of the Dodgers will not see the 85-year-old broadcaster reduce his workload.

With the exception of five dates on the Dodgers’ first homestand, when he had a bad cold, Scully announced every Dodger game in California and Arizona on KCAL (Channel 9) and Fox Sports Prime Ticket last season. He’ll follow the same schedule this year. That had been the plan all along; it was formalized Monday with the announcement of the Dodgers’ 2013 broadcast schedule.

But will he be in New York when the Yankees play the Dodgers June 18 and 19?

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Dodgers to webcast eight spring games.

Dodgers fans who have grown weary of the lack of televised spring training games can turn to their computer for help.

The team announced eight spring training home games will be broadcast on www.dodgers.com, beginning with Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Indians. The other “webcasts” are March 6 (Mexico National Team), March 8 (Cincinnati), March 9 (Seattle), March 14 (Chicago Cubs), March 15 (Kansas City), March 19 (Oakland) and March 22 (Cincinnati).

Broadcasters for the game have yet to be announced, but a team spokesperson said that a “rotation” of different voices can be expected.

Nine other spring training games are scheduled to be televised (three on Prime Ticket, four on KCAL, two on MLB Network) in addition to four tape-delayed games on MLB Network.

San Francisco columnist rips Dodgers, “a purely store-bought team.”

On paper, the Giants have the edge over the Dodgers in 9 of 16 categories (including “chemistry“) heading into the 2013 season. The Dodgers are a “purely store-bought team” whose image suggests the opposite of world championships, fundamentally sound baseball and “owners reluctant to give anyone a $100,000 contract.”

That’s the view from San Francisco, at least, where Chronicle columnist Bruce Jenkins had some fun at the Dodgers’ expense yesterday. (Though he was at least smart enough not to rip Sandy Koufax.)

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Mike Piazza on Vin Scully: ‘He’s a good man and I love him.’

MikexPiazza book

On a back field, far from the Dodgers and Vin Scully (who was in Glendale to broadcast his first game of spring training), Mike Piazza and Team Italy were preparing for the World Baseball Classic at Camelback Ranch.

Piazza took a break from his duties as hitting coach to tell reporters that he had no regrets over what he wrote about Scully in his book “Longshot.” The former Dodgers catcher took plenty of heat for insinuating that Scully fueled the perception that, by setting a deadline to sign a contract extension in 1998, Piazza was being disloyal to the team.

On Monday, he responded:

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Q&A: Eric Byrnes on the Dodgers.

Eric ByrnesMLB Network analyst and 11-year major-league veteran Eric Byrnes was at Camelback Ranch on Tuesday. He and his MLBN colleagues are making several stops in spring training to film video segments for their annual “30 clubs in 30 Days tour.”

That’s a lot of clubs in a short amount of time, and Byrnes said he’ll be seeing 10 of them, starting with the Cubs, Royals, Mariners, Diamondbacks, Reds and now the Dodgers. He’ll be at the Brewers, A’s and Angels later in the week. I asked him for his thoughts about what he’s seen so far from talking to and watching the Dodgers. We hit on a variety of other topics that I’ll save for future posts/stories, so enjoy this two question Q-and-A.

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Dodgers special advisor Sandy Koufax: ‘If I wasn’t having a good time, I wouldn’t be doing it.’

Sandy Koufax

Sandy Koufax (second from left) was in his wheelhouse Friday morning: In the shadows of the bullpen mound, at a distance, at Camelback Ranch.

The man commanding the most attention at the Dodgers’ camp is also the least comfortable in the spotlight.

Through his work with the club’s pitchers, Sandy Koufax may prove himself to be a master mentor, Yoda and Mr. Miyagi rolled into one. But he’s never been one to embrace his celebrity. In that regard, this spring — even with Koufax donning a Dodger uniform for the first time in decades — is no different.

“It’s fun,” Koufax said during a brief media session Friday. “I’m having a good time. If I wasn’t having a good time, I wouldn’t be doing it.”

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