The Miami Marlins host baseball’s All-Star festivities in the coming days under the cloud of a search for a new owner and the probability of payroll slashing in the coming weeks.
MLB doesn’t want the Marlins’ uncertainty to cast a pall on this weekend. But there have been a couple of developments:
• The Marlins, in the past 10 days, have rejected Miami-based businessman Jorge Mas’ request for an exclusive negotiating period, according to a source directly involved. The Marlins apparently want to keep alive the hope of Derek Jeter or the Wayne Rothbaum/Tagg Romney group being able to purchase the team.
Mas has been given access to the Marlins’ finances and is doing due diligence to determine how much to offer.
He has told the Marlins he’s interested, and he intends to pursue a purchase, but he does not value the team at the $1.2 billion that the Marlins are seeking, the source said. He might be willing to make an offer close to that.
To this point, there have been no serious discussions of Mas and Jeter joining forces.
• Jeter continues to struggle to come up with the money to meet the asking price, and the Marlins’ patience with him has frustrated some others in competing groups.
• Rothbaum’s group has the money to meet the $1.2 billion asking price but has chosen not to. Rothbaum’s $1.1 billion bid for the team was rejected, but the Marlins are eager to continue negotiations.
Despite The New York Post reporting Thursday that Romney has stopped pursuing the team, three sources in contact with the Rothbaum/Romney group said Friday that the group remains interested in buying the team if the Marlins accept their offer. One source said “things are moving in the right direction.”
• One involved source who has seen the Marlins books said they are not lying about their financial losses. That source said the Marlins are projected to lose at least $60 million this season.
• One team source said, as our Clark Spencer reported, that most everybody on the roster is available for the right price.
Players most at risk of being moved include David Phelps, AJ Ramos and Martin Prado.
The Marlins are open to listening to offers for Giancarlo Stanton, who has a no-trade clause but might be willing to waive it.
To this point, no serious Stanton talks are believed to have occurred.
The Marlins would like to keep catcher JT Realmuto. It would take a substantial return to trade Christian Yelich or Marcell Ozuna.
The Yankees are pursuing a trade for Justin Bour, but the Marlins are not going to give away a player who’s productive, cheap and under team control through 2020.
One person very much involved in one of the groups bidding for the Marlins disputed the notion that slashing salary would help the Marlins’ chances of completing a sale, saying that a new owner would want to make some of those decisions.