The Miami Marlins are possibly going to be sold. At this point, that’s the most we can say.
Generally unliked owner Jeffrey Loria reportedly floated late last year that he would be willing to sell the team for a very specific and enormous number, and then last week, we learned that there was a handshake agreement for a sale at $1.6 billion, or nearly $1 billion more than the team had been valued at just the year before. Moreover, and of more intrigue in the current climate, the buyer was reportedly Joshua Kushner, brother to President Donald Trump’s special advisor Jared Kushner.
And then it came out in a New York Post report that Loria, perhaps looking ahead to his post-Marlins-ownership days, would soon be named by President Trump to be the United States’ new ambassador to France.
If that sounds like classic and unpalatable political payback for the proposed Marlins sale, the Kushner family seems to have agreed that it would have that flavor, releasing this statement:
“Our family has been friends with Jeff Loria for over 30 years, been in business together, and even owned a AAA baseball team together. Although the Kushners have made substantial progress in discussions for us to purchase the Marlins, recent reports suggest that Mr. Loria will soon be nominated by the President to be Ambassador to France. If that is true, we do not want this unrelated transaction to complicate that process and will not pursue it. The Kushners remain interested in purchasing a team and would love to buy the Marlins at another time.”
Given how this all would have looked – and MLB’s notoriously high standards for new owners – this was the right move by the Kushners. That said, you have to wonder if they are now applying a little bit of public pressure on Loria not to accept the ambassadorship – “You want that crazy high $1.6 billion valuation? Well, then you can’t do the ambassador thing. Your call.” That, and/or maybe MLB applied some pressure behind the scenes.
We’ll see how this plays out. As we’ve said before, whatever happens with the Marlins’ ownership situation – even if it doesn’t become national political news (please no) – it will be enormous news for baseball, and for the future of that organization. Cubs fans don’t have to look too far for an example of how a new ownership group can change everything.