UPDATE (Tuesday, Dec. 4, 11:45 a.m.): Magic Johnson refuted that he was present with the Los Angeles Dodgers for a free agency meeting with Bryce Harper.
This winter’s Major League Baseball free agency class has been talked about for a long time, mainly because of the presence of Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper.
At just 26 years of age, the former National League Rookie of the Year, MVP and six-time All-Star is one of the youngest superstars to ever hit the open market.
As expected, Harper has been garnering a lot of interest and has already turned down an offer of $300 million to return to the Nationals.
Teams are beginning to meet with Harper, and according to Tim Brown and Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Magic Johnson led the team’s recent pitch to Harper in his hometown of Las Vegas:
Not five months ago, in his role as president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers, Magic Johnson led the recruitment and signing of LeBron James, perhaps altering the course of that franchise, definitely drawing a star to a city that breathes them. Recently, according to sources, Johnson and other Dodgers officials traveled to Las Vegas to meet with Harper.
As was alluded to, Johnson currently serves as the president of basketball operations for the team he won five NBA Championships with, the Los Angeles Lakers.
In just his second offseason leading the Lakers, Johnson delivered the best star in the sport, LeBron James, to the city of Los Angeles. He now looks to do the same for the Dodgers, who have fallen just short of winning the World Series in each of the last two seasons.
The Dodgers have shown interest in Harper for a while now, claiming him off waivers from the Nationals in August although the two sides were unable to make a deal. They reportedly included current starting right fielder Yasiel Puig in their offer.
Signing a player of Harper’s caliber will not come cheap though, so it will be interesting to see if he is the player the Dodgers’ front office is willing to break the bank for.