MLB Ownership Circle Express Confidence In Jeter, Say He Will Bring Success To Marlins
Prospective Marlins owner Bruce Sherman met yesterday with MLB's Ownership Committee in Chicago, beginning an approval process aimed at closing the $1.2B deal in early October. Sherman did not comment regarding the initial meeting and business partner Derek Jeter did not attend the session, due in part to the late-stage pregnancy of his wife, Hannah. But league sources said the initial reaction to the financier Sherman was positive, and current Marlins President David Samson said he remains confident the transaction is on track. "I feel very confident," he said. "This was the first step of several more to come. This is a process you take seriously, and Bruce Sherman is taking it seriously and doing everything the commissioner wants to put forward a deal that’s approvable." Samson also denied ongoing industry rumors and various new reports the Sherman-Jeter bid is still trying to secure additional financing. "There is a completed package that was submitted to Major League Baseball by (Owner) Jeffrey (Loria) for the purchase of the Marlins, and that completed package includes the full financing," Samson said. He also said there has been no discussions with the Sherman-Jeter group or internally about trading RF Giancarlo Stanton, who is still owed $295M between '18-28. "He’s such an important part of the Marlins franchise," Samson said. "You’re talking about the first Marlins Hall of Famer in my mind."
TALK OF THE TOWN: Even without Jeter present, he was the early talk of the owners' meetings. And the prospect of Jeter joining MLB's ownership ranks drew widespread raves from various team owners and executives. "Obviously they need approval and all that stuff, but yeah, I’m excited for him," said MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre, Jeter's manager with the Yankees from '96-07. "He’s not the kind of guy who’s just going to add his name and say, ‘yeah, I’m the owner of the team.’ He’s going to roll up his sleeves. ... I know he didn’t want to just be a token owner. He’s going to undertake something he’s never done before, obviously, but I wish him luck, and I know he’ll do well." Yankees Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner said, "Nobody knows baseball better than Derek. He’s a class act, he’s very intelligent. I think he’d be great at (baseball operations)." And Samson described a deep level of activity by Jeter during the oft-turning sales process for the club. "He was very involved with different provisions and complexities of a transaction like this, understanding what he wants to accomplish on both the business and baseball side," Samson said. "Derek Jeter is iconic. And I think there’s a lot of people around the country who view him as a hero, but they view him as a hero at shortstop. His goal has always been to be viewed as a hero as an executive in addition and to transition that way. I wouldn’t doubt Derek Jeter. The focus he has, the desire he has, the skill he has, you put those together, I don’t see him failing ... I’ve met a lot of athletes in my time, and he’s a remarkable guy. He’s incredibly focused and equipped to do this" (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer).
STAR POWER: In N.Y., Richard Johnson noted most of the 16 men -- no women -- putting up the $1.2B in the deal are "Wall Street types." This list includes Energy Capital Partners' Doug Kimmelman and Peter Labbat, Viking Global co-Founder David Ott, Beekman Group Managing Partner & co-Founder John Troiano, Roystone Capital Management Founder Rich Barrera, investment firm KKR CFO Bill Janetschek and Blackstone Group Senior Managing Dir Lou Salvatore. CompareCards President & Founder Chris Mettler and Bunk1 Founder & CEO Ari Ackerman are also part of the group (NYPOST.com, 8/16).
NO DOUBTING THE CAPTAIN: USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale notes once Jeter and Sherman "become approved as the new owners," MLB's ownership circle "will have star power." Samson said, "He's the type of guy who only wants something that he knows he has the tools to do. He exhibited that through the negotiations of the deal." Royals Owner David Glass said, "This is so great for baseball. To have a player like this, who's so respected in the game, wanting to join our ownership circle." Nightengale notes the Marlins certainly "need him more than ever." The team has "not produced a winning season" since '10. But yesterday there was "not a soul" at the owners' meeting, or an executive in the MLB offices, who have a "doubt that Jeter will bring success to this downtrodden franchise." Torre said, "It’s more than somebody investing money. It's somebody who's in it for the long haul." Steinbrenner said, "It's going to be a surreal experience in not a totally positive way to see him in different colors." He added, "That organization has some challenges, but he's been through a lot. As far as baseball operations, I think he'll get the job done." Astros Owner Jim Crane said, "It will take him awhile to adapt, but he's so approachable and likeable, I think he'll pick it up quickly" (USA TODAY, 8/17).