Posted on April 25, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter is one step closer towards being an owner of a major league team. Jeter is part of an investment group that has reportedly agreed in principle to buy the Miami Marlins from current owner Jeffrey Loria for $1.3 billion. Also part of the investment group is former Florida Governor and one-time Presidential candidate Jeb Bush. The deal is far from official, but those within the investment group are confident the deal will ultimately be completed.
Earlier this month, both Jeter and Bush were reported to be involved in separate bids for the Marlins, although it was believed that neither had the capital necessary to complete the deal. More recently, the two decided to join forces in order to consolidate resources in hopes of being able to purchase the team.
Loria has been interested in selling the team, which he originally bought for $158.5 million in 2002, for some time. Word first got out about Loria looking for a seller over the winter. Those close to him believe the 76-year old wants to start getting his affairs in order at this stage in his life. Loria was also greatly distressed at the tragic passing of Marlins ace Jose Fernandez last September, which could have pushed him towards walking away from baseball.
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Reports indicate that Bush would be the “control” person who would be dealing directly with MLB and ultimately make decisions regarding the team. Jeter, who now resides in Tampa, would also be in line for an active role. There are reportedly at least five members of the investment group, all of whom, including Jeter, would have to be vetted by MLB before the deal could become finalized. The identities of those in the party other than Bush and Jeter are not known at this time.
Since retiring from baseball in 2014, Jeter has not been shy about letting it be known that he has an interest in becoming an owner one day.
“I’ve made it very clear of ownership aspirations at some point,” Jeter said in December. “Who knows when that is, who knows if you get the opportunity. I hope I do.”
At this point in the process, the no one in the Marlins organization is able to comment on the potential sale of the team.
“I have not commented on the process and plan to keep it that way, thank you,” Marlins president David Samson said to a reporter on Tuesday.
“Nobody from the front office has taken me and said, ‘Hey, this is happening,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said Tuesday. “It’s premature to talk about it. I’ve talked enough from the standpoint of nothing’s going to change what we’re trying to accomplish. It’s not worth it I think publicly going anywhere until (ownership) tells me something is concrete. Until then, I think I’ll hold off to talk about it.”
Oddly enough, Mattingly and Jeter were teammates in 1995, the former’s final season in the majors and the latter’s rookie season. Mattingly was also on the Yankees coaching staff later in Jeter’s career with the Bronx Bombers.
“I don’t know about any of that,” Mattingly said when asked if having Jeter as an owner would help his job security with the club. “Anything Derek wants to do, he’s gonna be good at.”
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has also mentioned that Jeter sitting in the owner’s chair of a club could benefit the game.
“I’ve talked to Derek privately about his desire to be an owner,” Manfred said last week. “I think the idea of a former player being an owner is an appealing one for baseball, particularly a player like Derek. It would bring some diversity to our ownership group. I think that would be a good thing.”
Among the steps left to traverse is the sale being approved by at least 23 of the 30 major league owners. Those 30 owners are set to meet next month, at which point they may have the opportunity to approve the deal. While it’s not yet official, the group headlined by Jeter and Bush appear to be on their way to owning the Marlins.