Major League Baseball has unanimously approved Derek Jeter’s bid to purchase and run the Miami Marlins, the FOX Business Network has confirmed. This fulfills the Yankee great’s dream of running a professional sports team, which he will do in tandem with wealthy venture capitalist Bruce Sherman.
Jeter – a perennial All Star during his 20-year career with the Yankees and a likely Hall of Famer – is said to have pledged around $20 million into the bidding group, but will run the team’s baseball operations. The team’s new control person—or de facto majority owner—is Bruce Sherman, a wealthy venture capitalist and money manager who pledged $300 million in the bid, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter. Sherman didn’t return calls for comment. It’s unlikely anyone from current Marlins management will keep their jobs, baseball executives with knowledge of the matter say.
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“I congratulate Mr. Sherman on receiving approval from the Major League Clubs as the new control person of the Marlins and look forward to Mr. Jeter's ownership and CEO role following his extraordinary career as a player,” said Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. in a statement. Manfred also thanked former owner Jeffrey Loria and team President David Samson.
On Tuesday, FOX Business was first to report the vote and approval was imminent. Manfred pushed owners to vote before the playoffs begin next week. The unanimous approval signals the majority of owners are comfortable with how the deal is being financed. Jeter’s bid was known to be complex; it combines financial contributions from several investors other than Sherman and Jeter, including a chunk of money from a firm affiliated with personal computer honcho Michael Dell in the form of preferred stock, not typical for the MLB since such an investment has debt-like characteristics that the league frowns upon.
As FOX Business was first to report, Jeter and his bidding group’s $1.2 billion offer for the Marlins was reviewed by MLB officials in what one called a “proctology exam” to determine its soundness. Initially baseball executives believed the review could take an extended period of time, possibly even two months. But one baseball executive with direct knowledge of the matter said there was nothing to indicate that MLB had found anything wrong with the bid.
Meanwhile Jeter didn’t wait for approval before embracing his new role. He has reportedly fired four special assistants including several former stars of the team: Andre Dawson, Tony Perez and Jeff Conine, as well as Jack McKeon, the manager who led the Marlins to their 2003 World Series victory over the Yankees.
Since retiring in 2014, Jeter has made no secret of his desire to run a major league franchise as his post-baseball career. As reported, Jeter’s investor group was recently selected by Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria as the winning bid for the franchise, ending a five-month contest among a slew of prominent investors and even some politicians looking to purchase the team.
The Marlins are one of the MLB’s more mediocre franchises on the field, yet even worse is the team’s financial condition, which includes poor attendance, high levels of debt and tens of millions of dollars a year in losses, according to baseball executives.
The Marlins are likely to finish below .500 when the regular season for 2017 ends early next week and will not make the playoffs for the 14th straight year. The last time they made the playoffs was in 2003, when the team beat the Yankees in the World Series.