CAPTAIN HOOKS THE MARLINS
Derek is set to rule Marlins $1.2B deal for floundering club needs MLB OK
LONGTIME YANKEE captain Derek Jeter is part of an investor group that will buy the Miami Marlins from current owner Jeffrey Loria for a staggering $1.2 billion, according to reports Friday. Jeter will now get his turn as the boss — he’ll be in charge of baseball operations.
DEREK JETER’S dreams of owning his own baseball franchise are about to become a major league reality.
The 43-year-old retired Yankees legend is inking a $1.2 billion deal to takeover the struggling Miami Marlins, along with a 16-investor group that includes New York businessman Bruce Sherman.
The group finally won over team owner Jeffrey Loria — who bought the struggling franchise in 2002 for $158 million — after a months-long saga that featured a rotating cast of big monied potential buyers.
The Miami Herald first reported the score Friday.
MLB did not return a call for comment, nor did Marlins president David Samson.
The Sherman-Jeter coalition beat out two other groups that were hoping to reel in the team in the final weeks of negotiations. One group that struck out was led by South Florida businessman Jorge Mas, and another included former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who recently halted his pursuit of a deal.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said last month that all three groups offered about the same amount of money, but there were legal and financing issues that led to delays.
Loria previously reached a “handshake agreement” to sell
the ballclub to Charles Kushner, the father of President Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, for $1.6 billion. But when Kushner learned Loria was being considered to be ambassador to France, he felt it would not be in either party’s best interest to pursue the purchase.
Other issues arose during the ensuing negotiations.
Jeter, who’s reportedly ponying up $25 million of his own money, had trouble raising funds as he sought additional investors.
Former basketball star, and occasional baseball player, Michael Jordan jumped on board last month.
If MLB approves the deal, Jeter’s group will be taking on an estimated $400 million in debt, plus reported annual losses between $40 million and $60 million.
The Marlins won one World Series title during Loria’s tenure — in 2003 — but the club hasn’t made the playoffs since.
Marlins Park, in its sixth season, continues to draw paltry crowds at home games year after year.
Yet Jeter has long stated his desire to be a baseball owner, including during his playing days.
“I’ve made it very clear of ownership aspirations at some point. Who knows when that is, who knows if you get the opportunity. I hope I do,” he said in December.
Jeter, who spent 20 years in pinstripes, retired from baseball in 2014. He married model Hannah Davis a year later and the couple announced in February they are expecting their first child, a daughter.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly, a fellow former Bronx Bomber, said he was unaware of Jeter becoming a team owner but predicted Mr. November would be well-suited for the role.
“Derek has been successful at everything he’s tried to do,” Mattingly said before Friday night’s game against the Colorado Rockies. “What Derek’s been able to do with his career, who he is as a person, there’s nothing in there that leads you to believe that he’s not going to be successful with really whatever he wants to do.”
MLB owners meet next week in Chicago.
A sale requires approval of at least 75% of the major league clubs, and the approval process could take three to six months.
Derek Jeter should wear a big smile as group he represents is on track to buy the Marlins (stadium above) from current Miami owner Jeffrey Loria (left). Jeter hopes to mirror the success he had as Yankees captain (far left).