Derek Jeter, still baseball’s most recognizable face, and former Florida governor Jeb Bush have reportedly reached an agreement to purchase the Miami Marlins.
Bloomberg reported that the two were among the winning group to purchase the Marlins from longtime owner Jeffrey Loria. Jeter, the retired New York Yankees great, and Bush, who made a failed bid for the Republican presidential nomination last year, recently consolidated their efforts to buy the club, with their top competition expected to be Wayne Rothbaum, manager of Quogue Capital.
The Miami Herald reports that the purchase price for the team will be $1.3 billion and that Bush will be the “control person,” in Major League Baseball parlance, for the five-person group.
Officials from MLB and the Marlins refused to comment to USA Today on the status of the team’s sale. The transaction would be subject to the approval of at least 23 of baseball’s 30 owners, whose next meeting is in May.
“Nobody from the front office has taken me and said, ‘Hey, this is happening,’ ” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said before Tuesday’s game at Philadelphia. “It’s premature to talk about it. I’ve talked enough from the standpoint of nothing’s
going to change what we’re trying to accomplish. It’s not worth it, I think, publicly
going anywhere until [ownership] tells me something is concrete.”
Loria turned an initial $12 million investment in the Montreal Expos into ownership of the Marlins, buying the team for $158 million in 2002. They won a World Series the next year, and in 2012 they opened a $634 million ballpark, with some 80 percent of financing coming from the city of Miami and Miami-Dade County.
When Jeter, who lives in Tampa, retired after the 2014 season, he expressed interest in owning a franchise. Bush, who lives in Coral Gables, is the brother of former President George W. Bush, who co-owned the Texas Rangers from 1989 to 1994. Jeb Bush was Florida’s governor from 1999 to 2007. He withdrew from the presidential race last February after disheartening showings early in the primary season.