Reports came in Monday evening that the Los Angeles Dodgers sent an entourage to Las Vegas, putting on the full-court press to pursue this winter’s hottest free agent.
Free-agent outfielder Bryce Harper is being pursued by several major league teams, but the news that the Los Angeles Dodgers were among the teams was especially highlighted yesterday.
The Dodgers bid seemed to take some seriousness when it was noted that minority-owner Magic Johnson seemed to lead the group that included president of baseball ops Andrew Friedman, manager Dave Roberts and coaches Bob Geren and Robert Von Scoyoc.
It makes sense that the Dodgers staff would include Friedman the ultimate decision maker when it comes to the makeup of the team, and of course, Roberts and the day to day coaches would be there.
The initial reports are now being corrected as Magic Johnson himself said he was not present at any meeting stating:
“The only time I remember meeting Bryce Harper was on the field at Dodger Stadium two years ago when Dusty Baker introduced us,” he said (h/t Yahoo Sports).
Whatever sources that misspoke might have just been speculating. It makes sense since Magic has been making news as a sports executive since helping engineer the purchase of the Dodgers in 2012.
He pulled the ultimate coup by luring Lebron James to the Los Angeles Lakers this past summer to revitalize the moribund franchise. Perhaps someone was crediting Magic for trying to bring LA another superstar.
Regardless of who was there, Harper’s pursuit is problematic for the Dodgers. Harper’s salary demands indicate that he is looking for a long-term contract that goes above the 300 million mark. Both the length and money are far beyond what the Dodgers regime has been willing to accept for a free agent signing lately.
New reports of the Dodgers trying to remain below the luxury tax threshold also means signing Harper may be difficult regardless of who meets with him.
All the contingencies are up for discussion but with the initial reports surfacing, the Dodgers sounded alarm bells for the rest of baseball that Harper is a serious target.