A group led by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and ex-Yankee Derek Jeter has rounded up the investors to buy the Marlins.
“They have the money,” a Major League Baseball source said.
But the source said negotiations to purchase the Marlins are ongoing and that three groups are in the running to acquire the franchise from current owner Jeffrey Loria.
A group led by Massachusetts businessman Tagg Romney is also in contention to buy the club, the source said, as well as a third “surprise” group that is a latecomer to the process.
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The Romney group also has the money to buy the team, the source said.
An agreement could be reached within the next 10 days but would require approval from MLB owners. That final step might not take place until as late as August.
The Bush-Jeter group offered $1.3 billion while the Romney group, which includes former big-league pitcher Tom Glavine, bid slightly more.
Last week, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred confirmed that two groups were bidding for the team.
“We have two very strong groups that we believe will have sufficient financial resources to complete the sale and run the team effectively,” Manfred said in a statement to the Miami Herald.
But the source said a third group of investors has since entered the picture.
Loria had struck a non-binding agreement with the Bush group — a handshake deal a source in the Bush camp told the Herald — that would give the former presidential candidate the first opportunity to buy the team.
But, until recently, Bush had not been able to definitively prove that he had the money to fund the deal.
Now he has, the source said.
THIS AND THAT
▪ Miguel Rojas started at shortstop for a second game in a row on Saturday, and he might remain there as long as he continues to swing a hot bat, according to manager Don Mattingly.
“Obviously, I know it effects [Adeiny Hechavarria],” Mattingly said of the shortstop. “But Hech hasn’t done anything wrong. It’s just that Miggy has played really well so right now keep Miggy in there.”
Going into Saturday, Rojas had totaled seven hits in two starts, including a four-hit game in Tampa and a three-hit night in New York on Friday. He carried a .333 batting average into Saturday.
“I’m pretty happy with the results, but I think I can get better,” said Rojas, who worked on his hitting over the winter in Venezuela. “This is the first time I’m enjoying a lot of stuff in baseball, especially offensively.”
Mattingly has the option of starting Rojas at multiple infield positions, including first and second base.
▪ Mattingly said MRI results on pitcher Wei-Yin Chen came back clean, and he expects the left-hander to return to the rotation after skipping one start.
Chen was scheduled to start Saturday but on Friday was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a “tired arm.”
“He just said he didn’t feel like he could make his next start,” Mattingly said of Chen, who complained of arm fatigue after throwing a bullpen session in Tampa last week. “He didn’t feel like the ball was coming out right. He felt like he needed to skip a start.”
▪ Mattingly kept Christian Yelich out of the lineup on Saturday because of a tight hamstring.
“Yelich is OK,” Mattingly said. “He felt he could have played.”
Mattingly said Yelich could return to the lineup on Sunday.
▪ Ichiro Suzuki started in center field on Saturday. At 43 years and 196 days, Ichiro became the second-oldest player to start a game in center. Rickey Henderson holds the record at 43 years and 211 days, a mark he set in 2002.
▪ Sunday: Marlins RHP Jose Urena (0-0, 2.35 ERA) at New York Mets RHP Matt Harvey (2-2, 5.14), 1:10 p.m., Citi Field.
▪ Monday: Marlins LHP Adam Conley (2-2, 6.12) vs. St. Louis Cardinals RHP Carlos Martinez (1-3, 3.75), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.