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?
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.
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.”