Is money alone sufficient to purchase a baseball team? The answer used to be yes. It probably still is. Nevertheless, the two competing bidders for the Miami Marlins are both “led” by a current or future Hall of Famer (Tom Glavine/Derek Jeter) and a famous Republican family (Tagg Romney/Jeb Bush), despite the fact that most of the money will likely come from lower profile investors.

The Marlins have finished no better than 12th in the National League in attendance since 1998, and they only finished that high when they opened their new ballpark in 2012. They have one of the worst TV deals in baseball–$20 million per season. By comparison, the Dodgers will receive an average of about $240 million per season over the next 25 years. They also employ Giancarlo Stanton, who has played only one full season since 2011 and is on the hook for $295 million through his age 38 season if he doesn’t opt out after 2020. There is a very real possibility it could become the most franchise-crippling contract in baseball.

Perhaps this underscores the necessity of having credible and high-profile names attached to potential ownership groups. If the team falls into an abyss of financial mismanagement, poor on-field performance, fanbase apathy, and general dysfunction (if they haven’t already) the baseball world can’t stay mad at the owner because he’s DEREK JETER!!! Don’t you remember the flip play against the A’s? Or the dive into the stands against the Red Sox? Read this and see if you can stay mad at him. It’s impossible unless you’re a heartless, cold-blooded monster or a Red Sox fan. What were we talking about again? Right, who’s got the edge to be the next owner of one of baseball’s most financially disastrous franchises?

Category Edge
Baseball Star Power Jeter/Bush Tom Glavine may be already in the Hall of Fame, but this one isn’t really close. Derek Jeter was the face of baseball for about two decades.
Career Against Marlins Jeter/Bush Amazingly, Glavine yielded a .293/.348/.423 career slash line against the Marlins. The only National League team that hit him harder was the Braves and he only pitched against them in his later years with the Mets. Jeter hit .306/.370/.361 vs. Florida/Miami. In the 2003 World Series against the Marlins he went 9-26 with a walk and three doubles.
Political Star Power Jeter/Bush Tagg Romney may be the son of a former governor and presidential wannabe, but Jeb Bush was governor himself, and in the state of Florida as well.
Reported Bid Amount Jeter/Bush The Jeter/Bush group appears to have won the bidding a price of $1.34 billion, but has yet to secure financing. The Glavine/Romney group bid $1.1 billion and supposedly has their financial ducks in a row.
Likelihood Jeffrey Loria is Going to Screw Up Everything Glavine/Romney The Jeter/Bush group may already be getting frustrated with misinformation coming from the Marlins and may back out of the deal.
Overall Edge Who knows? Crazy things happen when billionaires play Monopoly. Whoever buys the team probably won’t be worse than Jeffrey Loria, unless Frank McCourt wants to bid.

 

Jeffrey Loria is one of the least liked owners in baseball history. Miami is a city with a high population of Cuban refugees and Marlins fans hold Loria in similar regard to Fidel Castro according to a Miami Herald survey conducted in November, 2013. For the sakes of all Marlins fans let’s hope a sale of the team goes through.

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