None of the three groups bidding to buy the Miami Marlins has shown a willingness to meet the $1.3 billion asking price in revised offers, and the Marlins are now prepared to sell the team for something less, potentially in the $1.2 billion range, according to a New York-based Major League Baseball source that has been briefed on the situation.
The Marlins are seriously considering interest from three bidders: New York and Palm Beach-based Wayne Rothbaum and Massachusetts-based Tagg Romney; former New York Yankees star Derek Jeter; and Miami businessman Jorge Mas.
Owner Jeffrey Loria remains intent on selling the team and hopes to make a decision by the end of July.
There is no clear front-runner at this point, according to the source.
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The Rothbaum/Romney group believe they have a strong chance but also have suspected that Loria would lean toward Jeter if all things are equal, according to a source involved with the Rothbaum group.
Rothbaum and Romney bid $1.1 billion, according to the aforementioned MLB source and the person involved with the group.
Jeter’s bid is believed to be slightly more than $1.1 billion, but Jeter has been working to come up with the financing.
Meanwhile, the Marlins are aware that Mas, while very interested in buying the team, is not interested in paying as much as $1.3 billion.
Rothbaum’s group has the money to meet the $1.3 billion asking price but has not been willing to bid that amount. The Marlins have told Rothbaum that $1.1 billion will not get it done, but negotiations continue, according to the New York MLB source.
Rothbaum would be the control person in the group, but he and Romney would work as a team, according to someone involved in their group.
David Davoudpour, the CEO and chairman of Shoney’s, is also involved in that Rothbaum group, Bloomberg Business first reported this week. The Rothbaum/Romney source confirmed that and said Davoudpour’s financial investment is significant, among the four largest in that aspiring ownership group.
Jeb Bush has made a modest investment in the Romney/Rothbaum group.
If Rothbaum and Romney get the team, it’s undetermined who would run baseball operations. Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Glavine is expected to have some role in the department.
Former big-league pitcher Dave Stewart, who was former general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks for 25 months (2014-2016), apparently has not been promised any role running the club, according to a source, but it’s unclear what the extent of Stewart’s involvement would be.
Both Glavine and Stewart have worked to help lure investors to the group.
If Jeter gets the team, he wants to be heavily involved in baseball operations. MLB has been led to believe that Jeter has had at least some success in solidifying his investment group in recent days.
MLB hopes the Marlins situation will be resolved in the next few weeks. Closing on a sale could take months, but the Marlins hope to make a decision long before then.