Derek Jeter’s playing career may be over, but he’s still looking for better teammates. The former New York Yankees legend has been in pursuit of the Miami Marlins for weeks, but he lacks the money necessary to close the deal, according to the Associated Press.
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Jeter met with both Major League Baseball and Marlins officials to discuss the possible sale on Thursday, and told them he needed more time to gather cash from his investors, according to the report. His group reportedly bid about $1.3 billion for the franchise.
Jeter’s pursuit of the Marlins has hit some snags the past few months. He initially teamed up with former Florida governor Jeb Bush to buy the team, but Bush left the group during a power struggle with Jeter. Bush reportedly had about $20 million invested. While that sounds like a lot of money, it was not considered a huge impediment to Jeter continuing his quest of owning the Marlins.
On top of that, it’s believed another group, one led by Tagg Romney and Tom Glavine, submitted a similar bid. That’s likely going to put some pressure on Jeter to succeed. If he can’t gather up money soon, the Romney/Glavine group could come away with the team.
The benefits of Jeter owning a franchise are fairly obvious. For years, he was considered the face of the baseball. Getting him back involved, even as an owner, would be good for the game. People like Jeter. People might actually care about the Marlins if he buys them.
Commissioner Rob Manfred realizes as much. While Manfred has said MLB is considering every group, he’s hasn’t exactly shied away from praising Jeter. During a June interview, Manfred described himself as a “huge fan of Derek, professionally and personally.”
Jeter might be running out of time, though. In that same interview, Manfred expressed a desire “get some clarity” before the trade deadline. He wants to make sure new ownership has a say in the team’s moves at that point. If that’s still the goal, Jeter has a little over a month to gather up the required cash to get it done.
You would think MLB will give him that chance. No one is saying it publicly, but it sure seems like Jeter’s group is preferred over the competition.
Either way, it looks like the Marlins are going to be sold. If Jeter can’t manage to get the money needed to secure the winning bid, the team will likely go to the group led by Romney and Glavine.
It might be harder to sell that to casual fans who loved Jeter during his career, but the league is going to benefit from any sale, especially at that price.