Magic Johnson has denied the reports that he joined members from the Los Angeles Dodgers organization in a meeting with free-agent, Bryce Harper.
According to Yahoo Sports, Johnson joined a group of officials from the Dodgers to make their pitch to Harper in his hometown of Las Vegas. Johnson later denied that he made the trip to Sin City to meet with the six-time All-Star.
Johnson also commented publicly to the media about Harper. He said that there has only been one time that he has met Harper in person and it wasn't in Las Vegas. He stated the only time he met Harper was two years ago when former manager, Dusty Baker, introduced the two at Dodgers Stadium.
Sources confirm a band of #Dodgers personnel spearheaded By Magic Johnson headed to Vegas to recruit Bryce Harper. In addition to Magic, the crew included Doc, bench coach Bob Geren, new hitting coach Robert Van Scoyoc, and Andrew Friedman to name a few #HotStove #BryceToLA— Chris Camello (@Chris_Camello) December 4, 2018
Johnson is a partial owner of the Dodgers, he owns 2.3 percent of the team. When the group led by Johnson saved the Dodgers from bankruptcy back in 2012, he invested $50 million towards the total $2.15 billion it took to purchase the team.
Back when Johnson joined the group, it was intended that he would be used to pitch stars to come play for the Dodgers. Which is why it would make perfect sense for him to be in Las Vegas to try and lure Harper to the Dodgers.
The Dodgers are also not the only team to make their way to Las Vegas to make a pitch for the 26-year-old. Passan is also reporting that officials from the Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, and New York Yankees are among about a dozen teams that have made their way to Nevada to make their pitch to Harper.
It has been speculated around the league for multiple seasons now about where the former NL MVP would land. Any team that can afford his services, will likely be involved with those meetings down in Las Vegas.
There have also been rumors that Harper will make his final decision during the upcoming Winter Meetings. Where do those take place you ask? This year the GM's will meeting spot will take place in Harper's hometown of Las Vegas.
The meetings will begin on Dec.9, 2018, and conclude on Dec.13, 2018, with the Rule 5 Draft. Johnson made a very good pitch to bring LeBron James to California. So if he indeed did make a pitch to Harper, it's likely one that would be hard to refuse.
What This Means
Harper is one of the most coveted free agents this off-season. Along with Manny Machado, Harper will be looking for a lengthy contract that will cost upwards of $300 or $400 million in total.
However, the Dodgers are one of the biggest market teams in the league. Which means if Johnson and other members can recruit him to Los Angeles, the Dodgers should have no problem paying him what he wants.