The breaking news reported Friday afternoon — that Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has agreed to sell the team to an ownership group led by businessman Bruce Sherman and former New York Yankees great Derek Jeter — is sure to excite a multitude of baseball fans here in South Florida.
But just how much of a difference can the future-Hall of Fame shortstop make from the owner’s box?
And will Jeter’s involvement make you more likely to care about the Marlins than you do now?
MIAMI — Marcell Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton got big ovations as they were introduced as National League starters in the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, but neither managed a hit in five at-bats as the American League beat the National League 2-1 on a 10th-inning home run by Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano.
The big-league Miami Marlins are plodding along with Major League Baseball’s second-lowest winning percentage, and the minor-league outfits are woefully short on prospects.
Add in their seemingly inevitable ownership change, and this franchise looks ripe for some cage-rattling trades. But who goes?
Marcell Ozuna is a logical candidate, according to Fox Sports, which ranks him sixth among the best baseball players who could be traded this summer.
“The Marlins are in free fall, and with a depleted farm system (perhaps the worst in baseball) they should highly consider making major moves to start a rebuild,” Dieter Kurtenbach wrote. “Giancarlo Stanton’s contract is too big to move, but Ozuna, who was sent to the minors in 2015 but was an All-Star last year and is playing even better this season, isn’t [too expensive] and that means he could be the big piece the Marlins move in an effort to reboot.”
Ozuna has been one of Miami’s few bright spots. The 26-year-old leads the club with 29 RBIs, shares the home run lead with Stanton at 11 and sits second among the starters with a .302 batting average.
Ozuna will not reach free agency until 2019 and seems highly unlikely to sign an extension any time before then as a Scott Boras client. While that allows the Marlins some time to figure things out, they may want to move on this sooner than later if they don’t think they’ll re-sign him. His price tag will only drop the closer he gets to the open market.
What’s more important — leaving an MLB game with a souvenir baseball or keeping your shirt and wallet dry?
Apparently, you can’t always do both.
One Marlins fan learned that the hard way during the fourth inning of Monday’s 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
It all started when Miami’s red-hot Marcell Ozuna smoked Jake Odorizzi’s offering over the left-field fence and into the Clevelander Marlins Park.
There, a golf polo-wearing fan nearly snagged the home run ball on the fly, but it ricocheted into the pool. Polo Man really wanted the ball — but also to pursue it in a responsible manner. So, the wallet came out of his back pocket, the polo went over his head and into the water he went.
But by that time, two other fans had joined the chase. And neither one let the prospect of sitting through five more innings in a soaking wet shirt slow them down. After all, it’s not as if souvenir baseballs are routinely launched into the stands during every game. (Wink.)
The Marlins might want to consider petitioning MLB to add managers to the active roster.
According to Fox Sports, Miami skipper Don Mattingly had the second-best playing career of all 30 active managers.
“A back injury abbreviated what looked to be a surefire Hall of Fame career for the Yankees first baseman, who retired after 14 seasons as a nine-time Gold Glover winner and six-time All-Star who claimed the ’85 AL MVP Award and the AL batting title in ’84,” Brett Smiley wrote. “Donnie Baseball’s career slash line is a superb .307/.358/.471.”
Mattingly’s career .307 batting average trails only three of the current Marlins with at least 20 at bats. He had three seasons with 30-plus home runs—in a row, no less—a mark no Marlin has cleared since Giancarlo Stanton launched 37 in 2014.
So, which manager actually ranked above Mattingly? Paul Molitor of the Minnesota Twins, the only Hall of Famer currently managing in the big leagues. Molitor made seven All-Star teams and won the 1993 World Series MVP award with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Dusty Baker (Washington Nationals), Brad Ausmus (Detroit Tigers) and Bud Black (Colorado Rockies) rounded out the top five, in that order. Joe Maddon (Chicago Cubs) brought up the rear with a career that stalled at the Class A+ level.
The Marlins were also linked to two other entries on the list. Craig Counsell (Milwaukee Brewers) was a member of the 1997 world champions. Rick Renteria (Chicago White Sox) played on the inaugural team in 1993. The two ranked ninth and 21st, respectively.
The bright, bold colors that define both the Marlins look and Miami’s atmosphere as a whole will be fully embraced during the city’s (and state’s) first MLB All-Star Game this summer.
The league shared a number of holiday and special-event uniforms with Yahoo Sports, including teal and orange threads for the Home Run Derby, Futures Game and All-Star workout day which look like they came right out of the Marlins’ design book.
Despite the popping color of the jerseys, they actually aren’t the first or second things you’ll notice with the uniforms.
There are special socks — for these uniforms and all holiday apparel — designed by Stance, MLB’s sock partner. The only way these would feel more South Florida-ish is if Udonis Haslem wore them around South Beach with a Dan Marino jersey, a Marlins hat and Heat shorts.
They have a vibrant pattern of flowers, leaves and fish featuring red, yellow, orange and blue that may not work anywhere else, but feels right at home here.
The caps stand out for a different reason. Their look seems pretty tame — save for that same floral design inside of the brim — with a black base and orange logo. But the design sounds perfect for the heat and humidity of summer.
“Caps will be … made of a ‘Honeycomb open-hole mesh’ crown,” Chris Creamer of SportsLogos.net reported. “I tried one on, they’re quite light and very breathable.”
All-Star Week opens with FanFest at the Miami Beach Convention Center starting July 7. The All-Star Game will be played Tuesday, July 11, at Marlins Park.
Former New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter has emerged as one of three potential bidders for the Miami Marlins, sources told the Fox Business Network.
Jeter, who capped his playing career in 2014 and is expecting his first child with wife Hannah Davis, is being represented by veteran Wall Street executive and former Morgan Stanley brokerage chief Gregory Fleming.
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush has teamed with CitiGroup to finance another potential bid. A third group is led by a number of businessmen from Goldman Sachs, which has a business partnership with the Yankees.
Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has expressed interest in selling since late last year. There is no timetable in this process, but people with knowledge of the talks told Fox Business a deal could be completed by May and might fetch a price of between $800 million to $1.6 billion. Loria bought the team in 2002 for $158 million.
“From what I understand, whoever has the most cash will get the deal,” one senior baseball executive told Fox Business. “And who knows what the Marlins might do in the end if they don’t get the number they want?”
Jeter will be on the Hall of Fame ballot in a few years and should be a first-ballot lock. He left the game sixth on the all-time hit list (3,465) and helped lead the Yankees to five World Series titles.
He made more than $265 million in his career and previously expressed interest in baseball ownership.
“That’s the next goal,” he said in 2014. “Calling the shots, not answering to someone, that’s what interests me.
“I’d probably be a little bit more behind the scenes than The Boss [late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner]. But I learned a lot of great things from him.”
WASHINGTON — Adam Lind’s first swing as a member of the Nationals resulted in a pinch-hit, go-ahead, two-run homer in the seventh inning, and Bryce Harper went deep on opening day for the fifth time in his young career, leading Washington past the Miami Marlins 4-2 on Monday.
Stephen Strasburg (1-0) earned the win, allowing two runs and six hits in seven innings, pitching out of the stretch the whole way. It was his return to action after missing last September and the playoffs with a right elbow injury.
Otherwise, it was a good showing by some of the reigning NL East champion’s new pieces.
Catcher Matt Wieters singled off a soft liner ahead of Lind’s drive into the first row in right-center off reliever David Phelps (0-1) that made it 3-2.
Center fielder Adam Eaton doubled, walked twice, stole a base and scored a run. Wieters and Lind were free-agent signings; Eaton came over from the Chicago White Sox in a much-debated trade.
Plus, Blake Treinen, a holdover but a closer for the first time, pitched the ninth for a save — only his second in the majors.
Treinen took on the 4-5-6 hitters for Miami, getting Giancarlo Stanton to pop out in foul territory, struck out Justin Bour swinging, then Marcell Ozuna looking.
The Nationals trailed 2-0 before Harper put them on the board in the sixth with a no-doubt solo shot off a 95 mph pitch from Phelps, who came in after Miami starter Edinson Volquez went five scoreless innings.
Harper, the 2015 NL MVP coming off a down year, added to his opening-day collection of homers: two in 2013, one each in 2015 and 2016.
Lind turned on a 2-0 fastball, then was coaxed out of the dugout for a curtain call by the loud sellout crowd of 42,744 on a cloudy afternoon.
REMEMBERING NO. 16
Michael Hill, the Marlins’ president of baseball operations, wore a black lapel pin with the number “16,” the jersey worn by Jose Fernandez, the charismatic ace who died when his boat crashed late last season. “He’s gone, and that’s something that we all have to come to grips with and accept,” Hill said. “But his memory will always be a bond for this team and for me as well.”
Said manager Don Mattingly: “I actually thought about him this morning, just that you miss this guy.”
Nationals: 3B Anthony Rendon was out of the lineup after fouling a ball off his calf during spring training. Manager Dusty Baker said it was his decision for Rendon to sit, noting that the player wanted to start. “He could’ve played if I’d had wanted to push him,” Baker said, “but I decided not to.”
After an off-day Tuesday, Washington sends RHP Tanner Roark to the mound against Miami newcomer Dan Straily for Game 2 on Wednesday. Roark’s final spring training tuneup was rained out, but he threw a bullpen session of about 85 pitches to try to stay on track for the beginning of the season.
In this installment, Keri listed the players who were top-50 selections before last season and have now fallen out of the rankings. Stanton was one of those players, falling from 28th in 2016 to off the board now.
“The biggest contract in baseball history might also be on the verge of becoming untradeable,” Keri wrote. “Stanton is owed $91.5 million over the next four seasons and can either opt out after the 2020 season or make another $218 million guaranteed after that. That’s a hefty deal for a player who’s topped 123 games played just once in the past five years.”
Stanton has played just 193 of a possible 324 games over the past two seasons, while his batting average and on-base percentage have declined in both. That’s not the greatest trend for someone with a heavily backloaded structure, although there’s time for the 27-year-old to turn things around.
There were seven players ranked higher than Stanton in 2016 who also fell off the list, including the aforementioned Kershaw. The Los Angeles Dodgers can thank the clause in his contract that allows him to become a free agent following an in-season trade for his fall.