Magic Johnson on Robinson Cano: ‘He’s going to get paid — not by us, but he’s going to get paid.”

Robinson Cano

Robinson Cano and his recently hired agent, rapper Jay Z, are asking for too much money to be counted among the Dodgers’ priorities. (Getty Images)

Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson all but ruled out making a run at free agent second baseman Robinson Cano prior to the Dodgers’ NLDS opener against the Atlanta Braves on Thursday.

Johnson was discussing re-signing pitcher Clayton Kershaw when he mentioned Cano, though not by name. Asked how much more expensive Kershaw would become if he went 5-0 in the postseason, Johnson said “we’re not worried about that.”

“We already know we’ve got to give (Kershaw) a lot of money, what’s a few more zeroes?” Johnson said, laughing. “I hope he goes 5-0. I’ll take that all day long. This young man is going to get paid.

“I can’t talk about the other guy, the guy in New York. He’s going to get paid — not by us, but he’s going to get paid. When you’re a superstar, you get paid. We understand that.”
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Daily Distractions: Don Mattingly’s job seems safe.

Don Mattingly

Don Mattingly’s contract expires at the end of the season. He and the Dodgers have not discussed extending it to 2014. (Associated Press photo)

Apparently it’s time to talk about Don Mattingly‘s job security again.

ESPN.com’s Buster Olney told Steve Mason and John Ireland on 710-AM yesterday that “If they [the Dodgers] lose to the Braves in the first round or lose to the Cardinals in the first round, I don’t think he’s going to survive. … I think they would make a change.”

Olney’s prediction was based on how the industry regards Mattingly’s in-game managerial skill. In that area, there’s room for criticism (or improvement, depending on how you choose to look at it). But room enough to not renew Mattingly’s contract?

FoxSports.com’s Jon Morosi wrote that Matt Kemp is “sure” that Mattingly will be back next year no matter what.

Our Tom Hoffarth caught up with team president Stan Kasten recently, and Kasten offered nothing less than a ringing endorsement. “I’m glad we had him at the start, glad we had him in the middle and glad we have him now,” Kasten said of Mattingly.

If there is any uncertainty about Mattingly’s future with the Dodgers, Kasten and general manager Ned Colletti are doing a tremendous job hiding it from players and the media. While that might be the case, it seems unlikely that Mattingly’s job depends on the Dodgers’ playoff performance.

There are skills that go into the manager’s job that can’t be taught. As Morosi points out, Mattingly’s background as a player and his demeanor as a person fit almost perfectly with the Dodgers’ roster as currently constructed. That will count for a lot. In-game strategy? That can be learned in time, and it’s reasonable to guess the Dodgers will give Mattingly more time.

Some bullet points for a New Zealand Dominion Day:
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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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