MLB owners unanimously approved sale of the Miami Marlins franchise, from Jeffrey Loria to an investment group led by Bruce Sherman (46%) and Derek Jeter (4%), for $1.2 billion ($800 million in cash, $400 million in debt). Sherman, a venture capitalist, will act as the controlling owner; Jeter will oversee baseball and business operations. The sale is expected to close within the next week.
Howie Long-Short: The Sherman/Jeter group plans on slashing payroll (from $115 million to as low as $55 million), lacks the liquid capital necessary to carry a large payroll in the future and has no front office experience. This deal was approved because there simply were no other viable ownership options for the Miami franchise. The only other bidder Jorge Mas, balked at paying $1.2 billion for a business that is losing $70 million this season.
Fan Marino: Jeter & Co. have already started with some high-profile payroll cuts. Last week the group fired special assistants Jeff Conine (Mr. Marlin), Jack McKeon (who lead team to 2003 World Series Championship), Andre Dawson and Tony Perez. Giancarlo Stanton, who leads MLB in Home Runs and slugging, is 2nd in RBIs, 3rd in WAR (wins above replacement) and 4th in OPS (on base + slugging) is going to be the next to go; if the team can find someone to take the 10 years and $295 million remaining on contract. Christian Yelich and Dee Gordon are also likely to be traded. Marlins fans have seen this story before, it will be their 4th fire sale in the franchises’ 25-year history.