Unsurprisingly, Marlins president David Samson didn’t reveal much Saturday when asked about the rumored “handshake agreement” owner Jeffrey Loria has to sell the franchise to Joshua Kushner. “There’s obviously a lot of buzz, there’s rumors, there’s all sorts of stuff that happens all the time,” he told Tim Healey of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “Are these rumors different than other rumors? Time will always tell what happens.” Samson, who added that Loria “loves being [in Miami],” also informed Joe Frisaro of MLB.com that the franchise is focusing on selling Marlins Park’s naming rights and amending its TV deal prior to 2018. On naming rights, Samson said: “There’s still three companies, and we cannot figure out which direction we’re going to go in. I still want to get it done before the All-Star Game. It’s such a long-term decision. I don’t want to make the wrong one.” The Marlins’ TV contract with FOX Sports Florida runs through 2020, but Samson noted that both parties know the “deal is in a place where it’s not commensurate with the revenue that should be coming to the team, given the content that we’re giving. That is no fault of anybody’s but mine.”
Now the latest from the American League East:
- That the Red Sox were able to acquire ace Chris Sale from the White Sox without giving up left fielder Andrew Benintendi could propel them back to the World Series this year, opines Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox left-hander David Price called it “amazing” that the team landed Sale while retaining Benintendi, and president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski observed that “Andrew is not a player you’re ever looking to trade.” The 22-year-old Benintendi was terrific in his 118-plate appearance major league debut last season (.295/.359/.476) and enters 2017 as an AL Rookie of the Year front-runner. He’s also No. 1 on Baseball America’s just-released Top 100 prospects list – one spot ahead of second baseman/third baseman Yoan Moncada, who headlined Chicago’s return in the Sale trade. Right-hander Michael Kopech, the second-biggest piece the White Sox received, is 32nd.
- The Yankees left a great impression on closer Aroldis Chapman during his stint with them last year, which led him to prioritize re-signing with the club in free agency. Ultimately, he returned to the Bronx on a five-year, $86MM deal – a record-breaking pact for a reliever. “The first moment that I got here in Spring Training, the way that they treated me, the attention that I got,” he told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. “The work ethic of this team, the clubhouse, the athletes that they have. Those things, all of them made me feel very comfortable. That for me was the most important thing, and I wanted to come back.” Chapman, who ended last season with the World Series champion Cubs, sees similarities between the way the Yankees are assembling their roster and how Chicago has built its juggernaut of a squad. “Chicago started doing the same thing, bringing young players in the beginning, combined with veterans,” he said. “It worked for them, and it’s a solid team. The Yankees are similar in that way. They’re trying to bring in some youth, athletes that are very gifted.”