Could one Hall of Famer be trying to lure a future Cooperstown-bound shortstop to the other side in the ongoing Marlins-for-sale saga?
According to the SportsBusiness Journal’s Daniel Kaplan, the bidding group led by Tagg Romney —the son of 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney — and Hall of Fame lefty Tom Glavine reached out to Derek Jeter “several weeks ago” to persuade the retired Yankee captain to “dump” Jeb Bush, Jeter’s current partner in a separate bidding group. Bush, the former Florida governor and a 2016 GOP presidential candidate, has been paired with Jeter for months, but sources have told the Daily News that the Bush group has nowhere near the reported $1.1-$1.3 billion that current Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria is seeking.
According to several baseball insiders, however, Romney’s group has become increasingly frustrated with the process, to the point where it is believed the Romney group is considering a drop-dead, take-it-or-leave-it number for the purchase price and a finite timetable for the offer to be considered.
David Samson, the Marlins president, declined comment Friday when reached by The News. Dana Pawlicki, the Stonington Capital Advisors co-founder, said Friday that a group that includes Stonington and Joe Molloy, the former managing general partner for the Yankees in the ’90s, has “been in touch with the Bush and Romney camps” about joining forces. Molloy, who was formerly married to the late Yankee owner George Steinbrenner’s daughter Jessica, ran the Bombers while The Boss was serving a ban. Pawlicki said earlier this month that the Stonington group was trying to make a run as a third bidder, but that appears to be changing.
“We’re meeting with a big investor next week,” Pawlicki said. “We’re hoping to bring something to the table soon.”
The Marlins play in their 5-year-old Marlins Park, a publicly-funded stadium that will host this summer’s All-Star Game. During this month’s baseball owners’ meetings in Manhattan, commissioner Rob Manfred said “there are two bidders, at least” vying for the South Florida franchise, and that is still the case for now, according to multiple sources. Loria bought the Marlins in 2002 for $158 million. “The bidders are in relatively the same place in terms of price, maybe miniscule differences. They are in fact in the price range that Mr. Loria was looking for,” Manfred said May 18.
There are several giant financial burdens that any potential Marlins owner would assume, including a reported $400 million in debt and annual losses of $40 million. There is also the gargantuan contract that slugging outfielder Giancarlo Stanton signed before the 2015 season — 13 years and $325 million. Loria stands to walk away with a decent return on his investment, even if he ends up selling the team for $1 billion, but if the process continues to drag out, it could negatively impact the sale price.