Barry Jackson

Marlins continue dance with Jeter, Rothbaum; Mattingly challenges Dietrich

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (2) adjusts his cap before the home opener baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium in New York on April 7, 2014.
New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (2) adjusts his cap before the home opener baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium in New York on April 7, 2014. AP

A few Marlins notes on a Tuesday:

• So what will happen first: Derek Jeter becoming eligible to be inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 2020 or the former Yankees star finally raising the money to meet Jeffrey Loria’s $1.2 billion asking price to buy the Marlins?

As the Marlins’ sales soap opera trudges on, a few things have become clear in the past 24 hours:

1) The Marlins are not expecting a Jorge Mas purchase to materialize, according to a New York-based MLB source in frequent contact with the team. Though Mas can’t be ruled out, the Marlins consider it more likely that one of the other bidders (Jeter or Wayne Rothbaum/Tagg Romney) will land the team.

Purchase agreements continue to be negotiated with both Jeter and Rothbaum.

2) Loria’s admiration and affection for Jeter cannot be underestimated. He continues to give Jeter seemingly all the time he needs to raise the money to buy the team. The process has had considerable peaks and valleys, with Jeter losing investors and then picking up new ones.

Just how close Jeter is to raising the necessary financing remains a fluid mystery. Among several questions I asked commissioner Rob Manfred last week, that was the only one he refused to answer.

Does Loria eventually run out of patience waiting for Jeter? Perhaps, but I don’t see it happening imminently.

Some baseball people close to Loria believe that Jeter remains the favored son in this process - and a member of the Rothbaum/Romney group has expressed that belief, too.

3) That said, the Rothbaum/Romney group - which includes Shoney’s CEO David Davoudpour, Jeb Bush and a bunch of former terrific starting pitchers (Tom Glavine, Dave Stewart, Al Leiter), among others - remains very much in contention.

Negotiations with that group are serious and active, and if they raise their $1.1 billion offer before Jeter can firm up his investment group, then they have a real chance here.

Marlins president David Samson talks about the discussions regarding the potential sale of the franchise before Tuesday's home opener against the Braves.

By the way, Loria is under no obligation to pick the highest offer. He could, if he chooses, pick Jeter over Rothbaum even if Jeter’s offer is slightly less. For now, negotiations with both groups continue.

4) Some elsewhere overstated the optics of Mas sitting near Loria at the All-Star Game. Mas was not Loria’s invited guest.

• With Martin Prado headed to the DL, that should mean more playing time for Derek Dietrich. And Don Mattingly was surprisingly candid Monday when I asked him if he has any theory for why Dietrich’s average has dropped from .279 last season to .241 this year.

“Derek has a great swing [but] sticking with a plan on a daily basis is his biggest enemy,” Mattingly said.

Mattingly said Dietrich changes his approach at the plate too often for Mattingly’s liking.

“It’s hard at this level to continue to change,” Mattingly said. “For me, it causes him more problems than anything else.”

• Marlins closer AJ Ramos, who is available in trade talks, said dealing with trade rumors “is tough. You’re getting tagged in different team’s stuff. It’s just like not focusing on people who say you suck.

“There’s always going to be some negativity going on and some distractions. That’s part of being a big leaguer. This is another thing to just ignore. Because this is not something you can control.”

• From Elias: Giancarlo Stanton hit a pair of home runs in the Marlins’ extra-inning victory over the Phillies on Monday night. Stanton has hit two homers in three of his last nine games. Since the start of the 2016 season, the only other player with at least three multi-homer games over a nine-game span is Cody Bellinger, who had three two-homer games over an eight-game span last month.

No other Marlins player ever had three multi-homer games over a nine-game span in the 25-season history of the franchise.

Here’s my Tuesday post on an NHL front-office executive assessing the Panthers’ offseason moves... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

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