Contrary to a report from February stating that Marlins Jeffrey Loria had a “handshake agreement” to sell the franchise to New York-based real estate developer Joshua Kushner, he hasn’t yet reached a deal with anyone, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. However, Loria is ready to move on from baseball and poised to part with the team sometime this year, reports Jackson.
Loria is currently in discussions with four groups, both from Miami and elsewhere, about selling the Marlins and has also had talks with two others. Major League Baseball knows the identities of the potential buyers, Jackson adds.
Based on prior reports, it seems the Marlins could sell from between $1.4 billion to $1.7 billion, which would be quite a boon for the much-maligned Loria. Now 76, Loria bought the franchise for a relatively meager $158MM in 2002. The Marlins won their second World Series a year later, but they haven’t made the playoffs since and Loria has come under fire for, among other things, his reluctance to spend to improve the on-field product and the opening of a $634MM, taxpayer-funded stadium in 2012. Loria did sign outfielder Giancarlo Stanton to a $325MM contract in 2014, but he’d escape the remaining $309.5MM on the pact by selling the Marlins.
Should Loria leave baseball behind, he could become the United States ambassador to France under President Donald Trump, who’s the father-in-law of Jared Kushner, Joshua’s brother. The Kushner group issued a statement last month saying it wouldn’t pursue a purchase of the Marlins if Trump appoints Loria to that post. Regardless of whether that proves true, it does appear the Marlins will soon change hands.