Dodgers: Magic Johnson could be used to recruit undrafted free agents
The Los Angeles Dodgers plan on getting creative to try to sign undrafted players.
Magic Johnson might be the Dodgers’ secret weapon to sign undrafted free agents.
As Major League Baseball owners and players continue to negotiate the financial framework for a potential 2020 season, there is one area where the owners have already saved themselves money, and that is in the draft. Beyond cutting the number of rounds from 40 to only five, teams can only sign undrafted players to a maximum of $20,000 each.
In other words, if a player wasn’t selected in the first five rounds, good luck trying to sign them. In 2019, a tenth round pick could earn as much as $142,000. The Los Angeles Dodgers could spend as much as $2.4 million on their first round pick this season.
Dodgers scouting director Billy Gasparino believes the team is going to have to be creative to find ways to recruit undrafted players. It could turn into something similar to NBA free agency with intangible incentives used to find hidden gems who are willing to forgo the opportunity to earn more money in a future draft year to join the Dodgers this summer.
"“We’re going turn over every stone,” Dodgers scouting director Billy Gasparino told the Los Angeles Times. “I haven’t seen the final version of our recruiting video, but we’re going to pull out all the stops. Maybe Magic Johnson will call a few people, Dave Roberts. Whatever you can think of that’s legal in the recruiting world, we’re going to try.”"
The Dodgers hope Magic Johnson can be the difference in recruiting a young prospect.
Perhaps Magic Johnson can use the same recruiting skills that helped bring LeBron James to the Lakers before he stepped down as president of the team. Although, it’s one thing for a Hall-of-Famer to recruit a future Hall-of-Famer, imagine the significance of receiving a phone call from Magic Johnson if you are just a kid out of college?
The Dodgers hope they can pull out the Hollywood red carpet because they can’t offer much more with that $20,000 limit. Every major league team finds themselves in the same boat, so it’s a matter of which scouting department has used their time to build strong relationship with possible recruits, and which players can be targeted who are willing to take the low bonus amount for a shot in the majors.
It’s believed college seniors or low-level prospects will be the type of players who could be had despite the low signing number.
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Here’s hoping the Dodgers can work their Magic!