Barry Jackson

Mas interested in joining winning Sherman/Jeter Marlins ownership group

Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, center, and his wife July chat with Cuban-American billionaire Jorge Mas, one of the bidders to buy the Miami Marlins during the MLB baseball All-Star game on Tuesday, July 11, 2017, at Marlins Park in Miami.
Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, center, and his wife July chat with Cuban-American billionaire Jorge Mas, one of the bidders to buy the Miami Marlins during the MLB baseball All-Star game on Tuesday, July 11, 2017, at Marlins Park in Miami. pportal@miamiherald.com

Spurned in his attempts to buy the Miami Marlins with his own group of investors, Miami businessman Jorge Mas is now interested in joining Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter, who signed a written agreement to buy the team for $1.2 billion on Friday, a source in regular contact with Mas said Saturday.

Bloomberg reported overnight on Friday that Mas is in talks with the Sherman/Jeter group to replace Sherman as the “control person.” But there was no immediate indication if that is something Sherman or Jeter would have great interest in.

The source said Mas and the Sherman/Jeter group have talked but it was too early to tell if anything would happen.

The Sherman/Jeter purchase agreement with the Marlins was finalized on Friday night and sent to Major League Baseball offices.

The sale requires approval of three-quarters of MLB owners, and a vote is weeks away. The sides want to close on the deal in early October.

It would not be unprecedented for a new investor to join a group after a purchase agreement is reached.

But it would be highly unusual for a new “control person” to enter the picture after a purchase agreement is reached.

Mas, according to Bloomberg, would be willing to contribute at least $200 million to join the winning Sherman/Jeter group.

Sherman had increased his stake to $400 million - the highest amount of any of the 16 people in the Sherman/Jeter group - in order to complete the deal but agreed to allow Jeter to run the baseball and business side of the operations.

Mas’ entrance into the group would allow Sherman to reduce his investment, something he likely would be receptive to.

Whether Mas would be willing to allow Jeter to run the organization under a Mas-led ownership group would be highly questionable, according to the source. And Jeter likely would want that, because Sherman has granted him that power.

Also, the Marlins would need to sign off on such a change because a purchase agreement has already been signed.

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred spoke glowingly of Mas when the commissioner was in Miami for last month’s All-Star game.

When Mas asked Jeter to join Mas’ group several weeks ago, Jeter declined because he wanted to run the organization. But since that time, Jeter agreed to allow Sherman to become the “control” person, with the caveat that Sherman would allow Jeter to run the team.

Jeter’s personal $25 million investment in the team was considered too low for Jeter to win MLB approval as the “control person,” baseball’s verbiage for what was once called a managing general partner.

Mas was caught off guard by The Miami Herald’s report on Friday - and subsequent reports by several media outlets - that Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has struck a deal to sell the team to Sherman and Jeter. Mas met with Marlins and MLB officials this week and believed his attempt to buy the team was gaining momentum.

Fans react to the news that Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman will be purchasing the Miami Marlins in October at Marlins Park in Little Havana on Aug. 11, 2017.

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