The Miami Marlins have been one of baseball’s most horribly-run franchises.
That may seem like a strange claim considering they’ve won two World Series in their relatively brief 25 years of existence.
However, those teams were quickly dismantled by miserly ownership. Now the organization is about to be run by an owner who truly wants to win.
The Marlins have reached an agreement to sell the franchise to an ownership group led by multiple World Series champion and future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter.
Miami Marlins president David Samson says a signed $1.2 billion 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 that major league owners will approve the deal in September and closing will take place shortly after the end of the regular season.
Jeter plans to 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 just 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. A person familiar with the agreement said Friday that the deal with the Jeter-Sherman group, which includes more than 10 entities, is valued at about $1.2 billion.
Loria’s decision to sell the team became public in February, and Jeter’s interest emerged in April. The Jeter-Sherman group beat two other groups that pursued the team in the final weeks of negotiations.
“It is a process that has had a lot of twists and turns,” said Samson, speaking in the Marlins’ dugout during batting practice before their game against Colorado.
“We feel really good. It was very 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 Miami Marlins and all the possibilities that come with being in a great city like ours.”
Many around baseball predicted success for the new regime.
“So Jeter’s going to run the Marlins, huh? Great choice,” Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “Glad they’re not in our league.”
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 they ranked last in the National League in attendance 11 of the past 12 seasons.
Jeter and his group won out over a group spearheaded by Jeb Bush, so Jeter is already scoring victories.
Despite the popularity of baseball in the Miami community, Marlins’ attendance has beenabysmal because Miami is a front-runner town. When the teams are good, the fans show up in droves.
If Jeter shows a commitment to winning, and that’s what he’s always been about, there’s no reason the Marlins can’t be a hot ticket in a competitive town.