Magic Johnson, Stan Kasten teaming up to bid on the Dodgers

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Magic Johnson told Bill Plashcke of the Los Angeles Times that he’s putting together a group to buy the Dodgers.

His group includes Stan Kasten, the former president of the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals, and Mark Walter, chief executive of Guggenheim Partners.  To the extent that Major League Baseball has a say in who buys — and they will, although less than usual given the bankruptcy auction backdrop — having Kasten on board is pretty big.  He’s a favorite of Selig’s, who put Kasten together with the Lerners in Washington when they bought the Expos/Nationals.

Johnson — while clearly the face of this group — would be more than a mere figurehead.  He has sports ownership experience given a previous stake in the Lakers and a stake in the Dayton Dragons minor league team.  He’s sort of a renaissance mogul, with numerous business and philanthropic interests.

UPDATE: According to the Associated Press, Johnson confirmed his interest via Twitter: “I’m excited to have the opportunity to be part of the Dodgers legacy & bring a World Series championship back to LA.”

Nick Markakis leads all NL outfielders in All-Star voting

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I would hope by now that I no longer have to preface All-Star talk with my usual “none of this matters” disclaimers, but please keep all of that in mind when I mention that Nick Markakis is leading all National League outfielders in All-Star voting.

Markakis, with 1,173,653 votes, has surpassed the slumping Bryce Harper in that category. Harper has 1,002,696 votes. The third place outfielder is Matt Kemp of the Dodgers with 925,697. Fourth place — Charlie Blackmon of the Dodgers — is like 300,000 votes back of Kemp.Yes, Markakis, Harper and Kemp may be the starting NL outfield. Brandon Nimmo — not on the ballot — should be grumpy, but he’ll get his chance I’m sure.

The thing about it: Markakis, for as unexpected as his appearance may be on this list, deserves to at least be in the top three. He’s second in WAR among National League outfielders behind Lorenzo Cain. He’s slowed down a good bit in June and he’s coming off of a 2017 season in which he had a 96 OPS+ and 0.7 WAR, but he’s having quite an outstanding season. I write that mostly so that there is a record of it come October and we’ve all forgotten it.

Seriously, though, good for Markakis, who has never made an All-Star Game. Good for Kemp too for that matter, who most people assumed was a walking — well, limping — corpse heading into this season. Good for Harper because anything that can keep up the guise of him having a good year when, in reality, he’s really not, will help his confidence as he heads into free agency.

Finally, good for the American League, who will likely get to face a far, far inferior National League team next month in Washington.

The rest of the voting: