Jeb Bush and Derek Jeter are the headliners of the new Miami Marlins ownership group
It was not a matter of if, rather when would the Miami Marlins be sold. Rumors have swirled the past few years as current Marlins owner Jeffery Loria has been looking to unload the franchise he purchased for $158.5 million back in 2002.
The Bush-Jeter group reached an agreement to purchase the franchise after submitting a bid of $1.3 billion. Their bid won the auction ahead of other potential buyers for exclusive negotiating rights. Other groups included former Braves and Mets pitcher Tom Glavine, New York businessman Wayne Rothbaum, and son of former Governor Mitt Romney, Tagg Romney.
Jeb’s brother, former President George W. Bush was a part of the Texas Rangers ownership group for almost all of the 90’s. Jeter has openly expressed interest in being an owner since his retirement in 2014. Both now get their chance to make a difference in Miami.
Since Loria purchased the Marlins, the franchise is 1166–1263; a 48% winning percentage. Outside of the 2003 improbable run to win the World Series over the New York Yankees, the team has been in disarray missing the playoffs every year since. The team has finished 2nd in their division twice in the Loria era — and one of those was the World Series year. In the 13 other seasons of Loria, the Marlins have finished in 4th or 5th place in the NL East 7 times.
Since winning the World Series in 2003, the team has also been strapped for cash and direction; making the team trade major contributors while also showing an unwillingness to resign players. Below are some statistics garnered by players after the Marlins moved them or did not resign them:
Miguel Cabrera, 2x MVP, Triple Crown Winner, 5x Silver Slugger, 9x MVP Top-10
Ivan Rodriguez, 4x All-Star, 3x Gold Glove, Hall of Fame Honor
Josh Beckett, 3x All-Star, World Series Champ (BOS)
AJ Burnett, All-Star, World Series Champ (NYY)
Mike Lowell, All-Star, World Series Champ (BOS)
Manager Joe Girardi, 830 wins, World Series Champ (NYY)
Wait though, Miami did sign free agents!
Closer Heath Bell: 3-yrs $27 million (traded halfway into year one and were on the hook for $8 the next two seasons)
SS Jose Reyes: 6-yrs $106 million (played only one season before being traded)
SP Mark Buehrle: 4-yrs $58 million (played only one year before being traded)
All three of these players were signed just in 2012 when the team was bottoming out. The team also tried to make splashes that year with Manager Ozzie Guillen and trading for former Cubs ace, Carlos Zambrano hoping for some spark.
The one year the Marlins tried to make some sort of push, their front office blew it. They were never given the money to splurge with until their new stadium was set to open. Loria wanted to recoup more of his losses by bringing together veterans that made no sense. Reyes was too expensive, Bell was the expensive closing option on the market — Miami could have had two solid bullpen veterans for the same price.
To keep everything fair, the franchise is responsible for acquiring Giancarlo Stanton and the late Jose Fernandez. The cornerstones were set in stone until Fernandez’s sudden death near the end of the 2016 season. A budding star lost his life and baseball fans everywhere felt the loss. But the team has their Hercules in Stanton who signed a 13-year, $325 million contract in 2014. With the deal heavily back-loaded, it is a Marlin-friendly payroll hit until 2020 ($17.8 million average) and then for the final 7-years Stanton will earn $218 million ($31.4 million average). Those final seven years are all based on player option for the powerful outfielder after that 2020 season. With Loria and the front office he hired in their positions, there was no doubt Giancarlo Stanton would be traded before that $31.4 million comes into play. That all changed today.
With the influx of potential new ownership with recognizable faces, renewed energy, and a willingness to win at all costs puts Miami in the right direction. The more intriguing half of Bush-Jeter face is obviously Derek Jeter. Jeter will have more of a baseball impact — duh — despite what probably is a lower number of shares versus any other member of the group. Jeter brings a dedication to winning and his passion will be infectious.
This scenario makes nearly an identical comparison to Magic Johnson’s impact on the Los Angeles Dodgers. The facade of a successful star athlete leading the charge of rejuvenating a franchise actually helps. Leadership cannot be overlooked. Magic’s impact in L.A. was dynamic. He was the pitchman and of you couple that with the money now available from the rest of the owners, the Dodgers could pull off deals to put them in contention. Pair those with a top baseball mind in Andrew Friedman — the man who built the Rays — and the Dodgers finally had a combination built for winning.
Jeter should be given the reins to hire a personnel guru like Friedman. Maybe it is Baltimore’s Dan Duquette, Kansas City’s Dayton Moore or they steal Mike Rizzo from a division foe, the Nationals.
The new Miami Marlins need an identity, and new ownership might just be what needed to happen in order to turn the page in South Beach.
This post was originally posted on Medium.com/Section240 by John Amoroso on April 27th, 2017