Mar­lins con­firm signed agree­ment to sell team to Jeter group by Oct.

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Steven Wine

MI­AMI» Mi­ami Mar­lins pres­i­dent David Sam­son said a signed agree­ment has been sub­mit­ted to Ma­jor League Base­ball to sell the fran­chise to a group that in­cludes for­mer New York Yan­kees cap­tain Derek Jeter, and the team ex­pects to close on the deal in early Oc­to­ber.

The MLB own­er­ship com­mit­tee will re­view the trans­ac­tion Wed­nes­day at an own­ers meet­ing in Chicago, Sam­son said Sat­ur­day. He an­tic­i­pates ma­jor-league own­ers will ap­prove the deal in Septem­ber and clos­ing will take place shortly af­ter the end of the reg­u­lar sea­son.

Jeter plans be a lim­ited part­ner in the group led by ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist Bruce Sher­man, who will be the con­trol­ling owner. Jeter, a 14-time all-star short­stop, will be in charge of the busi­ness and base­ball op­er­a­tions, Sam­son said.

“I’ve got­ten to know him through this process,” Sam­son said. “He’s an in­cred­i­bly in­ter­est­ing, ar­tic­u­late, smart, con­tem­pla­tive in­di­vid­ual. For­get about Hall of Famer, it’s not about that, it’s about his abil­ity to run a team and his de­sire to run a team, and it came through so clearly what he wanted.”

At least 75 per­cent of the ma­jor-league clubs must ap­prove the sale by Jef­frey Lo­ria, who has owned the team since 2002.

The deal with the Jeter-sher­man group, which in­cludes more than 10 en­ti­ties, is val­ued at about $1.2 bil­lion.

Sher­man spent much of his fi­nan­cial ca­reer in New York and has a home in Naples, Fla.

Sam­son said he hasn’t dis­cussed his own sta­tus with Sher­man or Jeter, although there have been re­ports that he will re­main with the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

“I have been here since 2002,” Sam­son said. “I love it here. I would love to stay here . ... If Bruce Sher­man and Derek Jeter would like me to serve, then it’s some­thing I would cer­tainly talk about.”

Lo­ria’s de­ci­sion to sell the team be­came pub­lic in Fe­bru­ary, and Jeter’s in­ter­est emerged in April. The Jeter-sher­man group beat out two other groups that pur­sued the team in the fi­nal weeks of ne­go­ti­a­tions.

“It is a process that has had twists and turns,” said Sam­son, speak­ing in the Mar­lins’ dugout.

“We feel re­ally good. It was im­por­tant from Jef­frey’s stand­point that there was an own­er­ship group that had not just con­nec­tions to Mi­ami, but an un­der­stand­ing of what it means to be here in Mi­ami and run a team like the Mar­lins, and all the pos­si­bil­i­ties that come with be­ing in a city like ours.”

Lo­ria, 76, has long been crit­i­cized for his fru­gal ways and for the pub­lic fi­nanc­ing that helped build 5-year-old Mar­lins Park. The Mar­lins haven’t been to the post­sea­son since 2003, and ranked last in the Na­tional League in at­ten­dance 11 of the past 12 years.

But Sam­son de­fended Lo­ria, who has owned the team — now in its 25th sea­son — longer than pre­de­ces­sors Wayne Huizenga or John Henry com­bined.

“I think time will show that through thick or thin, his com­mit­ment to Mi­ami never wa­vered,” Sam­son said. “It was hard to say that about pre­vi­ous own­ers.”

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