What if Jeffrey Loria doesn’t sell the Miami Marlins?
A rush of silence just filled the room as you read that statement. As the prospects of the current owner of the team dwindle and the talk that was associated with the two major investment groups vanish like sands through an hourglass, the idea of Loria holding onto the South Florida baseball team become very real.
Fans that are diehard Miami Marlins fans may not want to hear it, but the more the notion of selling the team lingers and there are no buyers to be had, there is a real probability that the current ownership stays in place.
“Because while negotiations for a sale keep moving along, have they moved much since the Marlins were reported for sale in January? In February, the non-White House side of the Kushner’s were in and then out as buyers. In March, Jeb Bush, Tagg Romney and Derek Jeter emerged as serious suitors,” writes Dave Hyde of sun-sentinel.com.
While the talk about Loria selling this ballclub has been on the Miami Marlins and MLB radar since 2013 and beyond, no news this time means bad news. What was the promising notion of Derek Jeter and Don Mattingly reunited once again and the business savvy of Jeb Bush making sure this team turns a profit has now become Jeter unto himself, trying to still make it happen.
What was the thought of Romney and Tom Glavine joining forces with Dave Stewart to put together a solid sales ticket has been nothing but talk of late.
“But what’s the plan if the Marlins aren’t sold this summer? Will Loria stay in neutral? Will he keep taking shots to win right now, as his depleted farm system shows, or will he re-build for tomorrow considering this team has little chance of going anywhere and has an inflated payroll?”
Hyde’s questions deserve answers.
I suspect MLB commissioner Rob Manfred wants to see the sale of the Miami Marlins completed, but it is unreasonable to expect the sale to finalize before the All-Star game in Miami in a month. It is also known that if a bidder wants to make the purchase, the group must have money in hand or the deal will not go through. Part of the reason for a lack of progression in this “event” is securing $1.3 billion for the asking price.
While Loria wants to see a winning franchise – one that has not posted an above .500 season since 2009, he faces other considerations. On the baseball side, the Marlins face a payroll tear-down of some form. They have an expensive roster that has little hope of contending for anything important. They can have a lineup to be good, as this recent stretch shows. They just have too little pitching to last 162 games.
And the minor league system isn’t the deepest in the Major Leagues. The Miami Marlins have traded away solid pitchers to acquire middle of the road talent on the parent roster.
What all this adds up to is a need to make a decision – do investors stay or should they go? Does this also mean the fans who have been loyal and want someone like Jeter to come in and change the culture of the team will revolt over having to continue to deal with Loria?
Dollars and sense aren’t the only thing at stake here. Manfred understands this. A little less talk and a lot more action is what the Miami Marlins need. While the club is struggling on the field, the decision about what to do with the organization is a struggle as well. In this case unless the team is sold, it’s a lose-lose situation for everyone involved.