Rumors trickled out late last year that Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria was considering selling the team if he got an absurd offer. I said at the time it had the “feel” of a prelude to an eventual sale, and what do you know, Forbes today reports that there’s a handshake agreement in place to sell the team to an unnamed New York real estate developer for $1.6 billion. [SEE updates below, which, yes, does go with the joke you just made in your head while reading about the buyer.]
Should the sale go through, the ramifications for the Marlins could be significant, depending on how the new owner utilizes the organization – like a piggybank, as a certain current owner does, or more like a trophy.
Loria is not especially popular among baseball fans, and a sale would probably be welcomed in that regard. A real commitment to long-term competitive baseball in a market like Miami would also be a good thing for the sport.
The Cubs, by the way, were valued last year by Forbes at $2.2 billion, the fifth highest in baseball, while the Marlins were at $675 million, the second lowest in baseball. The Cubs’ value has only increased in the last year, and given the spread you so often see between “value” and “purchase price” with professional sports teams, the mind boggles at figuring out how much it would cost to pry the Cubs away from the Ricketts Family right now.
Not that anyone thinks that’s even remotely in consideration. And, given how the family has managed the organization so far, here’s hoping no amount of money could entice the Ricketts Family to sell at any point in the next, say, 50 years.
Unless it is to me, for the princely sum of $47.35 and a Taco Bell coupon.
UPDATE: Although the joked-about buyer is not President Donald Trump, it’s another New York real estate mogul … who happens to have family connections to Trump. The buyer – or at least one part of the buying group – is reportedly Charles Kushner, the father of Jared Kushner – Ivanka Trump’s husband, and the Senior Advisor to the President. The connection to the presidency here is somewhat attenuated, but it does remind you of the relatively small circles that many of the super-duper wealthy travel in.
UPDATE 2: MLB is like, nah:
MLB is denying that Charles Kushner is involved in any potential sale of the Marlins. This is the league's statement, per a spokesman: pic.twitter.com/Dh1ch1XvsD
— Jared Diamond (@jareddiamond) February 9, 2017