Meet the (possible) new Boss. Will he be the same as the old Boss?
Retired Yankees captain Derek Jeter is part of a group led by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush that has reached an agreement to buy the Miami Marlins from current owner Jeffrey Loria, according to a report in the Miami Herald published Tuesday. The report said the Bush-led group has agreed to pay $1.3 billion for the club.
Any sale of a major-league team has to receive at least 75% approval from the owners, however. There are 30 Major League Baseball franchises including the Marlins, which Loria bought in 2002 for what now seems like pocket change: $158 million.
The 42-year-old Jeter, who won five World Series rings with the Yankees and whose No. 2 jersey will be retired by the organization May 14 at Yankee Stadium, spent his entire 20-year big-league career in pinstripes, and he played for the late Yankee owner George Steinbrenner, nicknamed “The Boss” for his demanding ways.
Jeter has long expressed a desire to own a baseball team, and said as recently as December that he hoped he would get an opportunity.
“I’ve made it very clear of ownership aspirations at some point,” Jeter said in December at his Turn 2 Foundation event at Chelsea Piers. “Who knows when that is, who knows if you get the opportunity. I hope I do.”
Now that opportunity seems to be closer to becoming a reality. Sources tell the Daily News that neither Bush – the brother of former Pres. George W. Bush, who previously owned the Texas Rangers – nor Jeter has the money alone to foot the estimated $1.3 billion cost, and that the other partners in the group may be providing the capital. The Herald report said there are more than five investors with Bush and that the 2016 GOP presidential candidate will be the Marlins’ “control person,” but that Jeter will have an active role too.
“For owners, it’s a great time to sell,” said one source. “Revenues have never been higher, and TV revenues can’t keep growing like this.”
Loria could not be reached. Casey Close, Jeter’s long-time agent, did not return a call for comment.
Jeter retired after the 2014 season, and he lives in Tampa. The former Yankee shortstop married Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover girl Hannah Davis last year, and the couple is expecting their first child, a girl, this year. Jeter has several other business ventures, including the Players’ Tribune website, which launched in 2014, and which gives readers first-person stories by current and former athletes. Jeter also has his own publishing imprint within Simon & Schuster. He made an estimated $265 million in salary during his career, and millions more through endorsements, including Nike, Gatorade and Ford.
During the commissioner’s meeting in New York last week, Rob Manfred said he had spoken privately to Jeter about owning a team and the baseball commissioner added that he believed Jeter becoming an owner would be good for baseball. Former MLB commissioner Bud Selig referred to Jeter several times as “the face of our sport.”
Other bidders for the Marlins, according to the Miami Herald, included a group led by Tagg Romney, the son of former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, and Quogue Capital LLC founder Wayne Rothbaum.
When asked earlier this month about whether his job would be more secure if Jeter was his boss, Marlins manager Don Mattingly joked, “I don’t know about any of that.”
“Anything Derek wants to do, he’s gonna be good at,” said Mattingly.