SBD/August 18, 2017/Franchises

David Samson Out With Marlins' Ownership Swap; Manfred Confirms Sale Financing

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Samson has one year left on his Marlins contract that reportedly will pay him $5M
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred told owners that the Marlins "will have a new COO and David Samson is out as team president," according to ESPN's Dan Le Batard (TWITTER.com, 8/17). Manfred said Thursday that prospective Marlins Owner Bruce Sherman "informed him" Derek Jeter would "run day-to-day operations." In Miami, Spencer & Jackson note Samson became the "most visible of all Marlins executives over the years, more so than" Owner Jeffrey Loria. He was at the "forefront of the team’s successful bid to secure public financing for a new ballpark, which opened" in '12. Samson has "one year left on his contract that reportedly will pay him" $5M (MIAMI HERALD, 8/18). In Ft. Lauderdale, Dave Hyde writes it "isn't a surprise" that Samson is being show the door, as new owners "almost universally bring in their own management." Sherman-Jeter ownership group is "doing exactly what it should," which is "starting clean." Hyde: "That's not a tough decision." Meanwhile, when Jeter takes over the baseball side, "don’t expect him to be GM." Jeter is "expected to take a role overseeing everyone." Hyde: "Expect him to bring in some Yankee officials he’s worked with" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 8/18). FS1's Frank Thomas said of Jeter, "He’s running everything. This isn’t, ‘Oh, Derek’s going to handle baseball, he’s not going to handle the rest.’ He’s handling everything. That means minor leagues, that means money, that means all the decisions he’s going to handle. The way I see Derek doing things, he’s going to build and he’s going to sustain” (“MLB Tonight,” MLB Network, 8/17).

MONEY AIN'T A THANG: Manfred said the proposed $1.2B sale of the Marlins to a group led by Sherman and Jeter indeed has the necessary financing in place. Manfred's comments, coming at the end of the quarterly owners meeting in Chicago, echoed those made Wednesday by Samson. The commissioner added the bidding group might still seek out additional partners. Manfred declined to handicap the chances of the Marlins’ bid ultimately receiving the necessary 75% owner vote for passage. He said there are “other issues in the approval process that need to be completed,” including elements around club operations, debt service compliance and background checks of each of the individual partners (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer). In Miami, Clark Spencer notes Manfred's comments "would indicate Sherman's plan contains enough cash equity to meet the league's debt-ratio requirements." Sherman has "reportedly put up" $400M of his own money to complete the deal. But Manfred said that "even though MLB is content with the financing proposal submitted by Sherman, it doesn’t preclude him from seeing other cash investors" (MIAMI HERALD, 8/18).

PUBLIC WORKS: Also in Miami, Douglas Hanks notes the home run sculpture at Marlins Park "can’t be removed" by Jeter or "anyone else who might buy the team, according to its owner: Miami-Dade County." It was "commissioned as part of Miami-Dade’s Art in Public Places program, which requires construction of county buildings to include art as well." Jeter and partners "reportedly floated interest in removing the center-field sculpture." No one attached to Jeter’s group has "actually made a public statement about wanting the home-run sculpture gone, but the well-covered rumor has inspired the artwork’s many detractors to cheer the possible clean sweep" of both Loria and the ballpark’s signature feature (MIAMI HERALD, 8/18).
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