The Marlins, Derek Jeter and Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred met in New York City on Thursday to discuss the Marlins sale, and the sides emerged with the understanding that Jeter is short of the money he needs to buy the team but will keep working at it, according to an MLB source.
Jeter and Marlins president David Samson were observed on a Manhattan street on Thursday before the meeting.
Jeter, Samson and Manfred were joined in the meeting by Greg Fleming, the former Morgan Stanley Wealth Management chief who is assisting Jeter in his bid to buy the Marlins and has some of his own money invested.
Jeter has been trying to raise the $1.3 billion needed to buy the team. He reportedly is contributing only $25 million of his own money but wants to be the franchise’s “control person” with final say on all baseball and business matters.
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Though the former New York Yankees great hasn’t raised all the money to complete the transaction, one source said he’s closer than ever before.
Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has great affection for Jeter and would be very receptive to selling him the team if Jeter can get his finances in order, but also hasn’t ruled out selling the team to a group led by Massachussetts businessman Tagg Romney.
Asked why Romney didn’t get a Manhattan meeting with the Marlins and Manfred, one MLB source said Jeter is further along in the process.
Manfred has said another undisclosed potential buyer has emerged but told Sirius XM recently that the likelihood is that Jeter or Romney will buy the team. Manfred also said he fully expects the team to be sold.
The Marlins have been working on purchase agreements with three parties - Jeter, Romney and the unidentified mystery third bidder. That third bidder is not Joe Molloy, who filled as the Yankees managing general manager during George Steinbrenner’s 1992 suspension and has been trying for months to put together a group to buy the team. Nor is it Dean Metropoulus, the Palm Beach based billionaire who was previously speculated as a potential bidder.
The men bidding for the Marlins also must put together partnership agreements with their investors and thus provide firm evidence that they have the capital not only to buy the team, but also to operate the team after purchase.
Romney originally bid $25 million more than the $1.3 billion bid submitted by Jeter and Jeb Bush, who has since departed Jeter’s group. But those figures are moot if neither Romney nor Jeter can meet the asking price.
Bush exited because Jeter wanted total control and because the amount that Bush was investing of his own money ($10 million) might not have gained the necessary approval from MLB owners who must approve any sale.
Fox Business’ Charles Gasparino first reported Thursday that there was a meeting regarding the Marlins sale - and that Jeter was short of the money needed - but did not report who was present in the meeting.
Here’s my post today with news on the Marlins’ willingness to trade Adeiny Hechavarria. Here’s my post with last-minute Heat rumblings in the hours before the NBA draft. And here’s my Thursday morning post on how the latest news on the salary cap will affect the Heat’s plans this summer.