Two heavyweights. One prize.
The news of former New York Yankees icon Derek Jeter and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush competing to buy the Miami Marlins took up the majority of news in south Florida this week. Current Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has made it clear he is looking to unload the franchise he purchased in 2002, with many suitors coming forward to make a play. This time, it appears Jeter and Bush will go to bat with Loria and Major League Baseball, with a deal hopefully in place before the end of the 2017 season.
Since this has been a topic for over a year now, with names like Jacob Kushner and Mitt Romney said to be interested but no deal consummated.
“Derek Jeter has said that owning an MLB team is “the ultimate goal” for him, although the ultra-valuable New York Yankees are likely beyond his financial reach,” writes Des Bieler of the Washington Post. “The Miami Marlins could be more in his range, with some help, and the former shortstop was reported Wednesday to be interested in bidding on the team.”
That wasn’t the only news as Bush’s named surfaced. His interest in the team dates back to 2013 when he inquired about the Marlins, but no deal could be reached. Bush’s business dealings revolved around politics until his 2016 Presidential run which ultimately failed.
Now, with the Marlins clearly on the market and two big names and other candidates to consider, who wins the battle royal? There are other things to consider.
Yahoo Sports writer Jeff Passan wrote financial issues with the club might scare off investors, including Jeter, who told Don Mattingly when the two were in New York together of his desire to be an MLB owner.
“In past years, the Marlins’ self-described financial woes were fiction. They posted annual profits upward of $50 million, due to skinflint payrolls and minimal debt. Though their cost to use Marlins Park, their gleaming new stadium almost entirely paid for by taxpayers, is minimal, an increased payroll, cratering ticket sales, a bad television deal and other factors have left Loria vowing to sell,” Passan said.
“How much he’ll get is the question. Jeter’s interest is real, as Fox Business first reported, though the parties involved believe he sees the Marlins as a poor man’s version of the team that would best fit him: the Tampa Bay Rays. Jeter, according to sources, has not placed a bid on the Marlins.”
The Marlins have a solid core of young talent in Christian Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and JT Realmuto. The team underwent a metamorphosis with its bullpen this year, added pitchers to the roster while deciding to carry 13 pitchers on the major league roster.
Can this team rebound with a new owner, dealing with a small budget and hope players from other teams will realize the potential of playing in south Florida and for Don Mattingly? Will Jeter or Bush as team owner prove to be a positive reason to make a move?
Passan wrote that where the first bid will land is of great interest to the parties involved, which also includes Bush. The $1.6 billion figure Loria desired is absurd with the Marlins’ finances what they are. Two sources suggested the over-under is around $1 billion – and one said he would take the over.
Fans and MLB are hoping that is not a deterrent. The sport could use Jeter’s presence in a management role. The fans could use his presence to erase some of the stench of Loria’s ownership in south Florida that has not been well received since he bought the team.
Back in February, it was reported by several media outlets the Marlins and the family of Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and a White House adviser had a “handshake” agreement. However, the family backed away amid reports that Loria was being strongly considered by the Trump administration for ambassador to France.