Says the Washington Post:

For a solid month now, the pursuit of free agent outfielder Bryce Harper, centered mainly around a trio of East Coast franchises — in Washington, Philly and the Bronx — with the financial wherewithal and apparent interest in signing the 26-year-old slugger to a megadeal, has been tempered by one sobering undercurrent: if the Los Angeles Dodgers ever got seriously involved, this dance could be over quickly.

That day appeared to arrive yesterday, with the news, first reported by Yahoo Sports, that the Dodgers recently sent a contingent of team officials to Las Vegas to meet with Harper and his representatives. Although the extent of the Dodgers’ interest remains unknown, the sudden entrance of the two-time defending National League champions — whose inherent advantages in the pursuit of Harper run from the financial to the geographical to the emotional — is widely perceived as a game-changer.

In the original Yahoo story, the Dodgers’ contingent that visited Harper at his Las Vegas home was said to have included minority owner Magic Johnson, who only five months ago, in his role as president of basketball operations for the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers, led the successful effort to woo LeBron James to L.A. Given the modus operandi of agent Scott Boras, who frequently bypasses general managers to go straight to ownership, the involvement of Johnson could have been considered a sign the two sides are already beyond the opening stages of discussions: