Meet the new Marlins boss. South Florida baseball fans hope he’s not the same as the old boss.
Retired Yankees legend Derek Jeter has won the Marlins sweepstakes, according to a Miami Herald report published Friday. Current owner Jeffrey Loria — who bought the Marlins in 2002 for $158 million — has reportedly agreed to sell the franchise to a 16-investor group that includes Jeter and New York businessman Bruce Sherman for $1.2 billion.
The Miami Herald report said MLB will receive a written agreement Friday. MLB did not return a call for comment, nor did Marlins president David Samson.
Any future owner of the franchise would ultimately need 75% approval from the remaining 29 Major League Baseball owners for the deal to be completed. Sherman will be the control person, according to the report, while the five-time World Series champion will run the baseball side of the team.
The decision by Loria to sell the club would seem to end a months-long saga. He previously reached a “handshake agreement” to sell the ballclub to Charles Kusher, the father of President Trump’s son-in-law Jared, for $1.6 billion. But when Kushner learned that Loria was being considered as Ambassador to France, he felt it would not be in either party’s best interest to pursue the purchase.
But for much of the time, three main groups were vying for the team: a group led by Jeter that at one time also included 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush; a group led by Tagg Romney that included Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Glavine and Quogue Capital founder Wayne Rothbaum; and a group led Cuban-American billionaire Jorge Mas.
Bush later dropped out of the Jeter group, reportedly over control issues, and joined forces with Romney’s group. Mas, the co-founder of construction and engineering giant MasTec, was considered the favorite due to his stable financial standing and his strong reputation in the Miami community.
Jeter’s biggest hurdle along the way appeared to be raising enough capital to meet Loria’s asking price. He will personally contribute $25 million to the deal, according to the newspaper.
In addition, any future owner of the Marlins will be taking on an estimated $400 million in debt, plus reported annual losses between $40 to $60 million. Loria’s teams won one World Series title during his ownership tenure — in 2003 — but the club hasn’t made the playoffs since, and the 5-year-old Marlins Park continues to draw paltry crowds at home games year after year.
Jeter has long stated his desire to be a baseball owner, including during his playing days.
“I’ve made it very clear of ownership aspirations at some point. Who knows when that is, who knows if you get the opportunity. I hope I do,” he said in December.
Will Jeter resemble another Boss — the late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner — if his group wins approval? After all, Steinbrenner once placed winning second only to breathing.