Hey it’s Hot Stove season in baseball. Usually all it takes is far-flung rumor on Twitter to start churning the gears of speculation, but those rumors are nine times out of 10 reserved for player transactions. Earlier this week, a tweet from Miami talk radio host Andy Slater sent baseball wonks into a tizzy for a different reason: ownership. Or more specifically, Derek Jeter potentially owning the Miami Marlins.
Here’s the tweet. Form your own opinion.
Run a Google news search on “Derek Jeter” and you’re going to get a couple stories about this speculation, rather than speculating on his relationship or martial status. So that’s a step in the right direction, I guess. (This post should eventually wind up in the search algorithm, too, if the SEO magic elves do their work.) Most of the stories all stem from the tweet, although ESPN’s Buster Olney weighed in as well, giving it a little more heft.
Ken Davidoff of the New York Post wrote an entire column Thursday night about the situation, likely because a story about Jeter in early December is a lot more interesting to read on the Subway than speculation on whether or not the Yankees will re-sign Chase Headley or sign Andrew Miller to a four-year contract. (Few baseball insiders saw the three-way deal between the Yankes/Tigers/Diamondbacks that landed Didi Gregorius in the Bronx before it transpired Friday morning.)
Reading through some of the stories the main premise breaks down thusly:
- Jeter’s mentioned becoming an owner previously.
- Jeter lives in Tampa which is in the same state (Florida) as Miami.
- Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria would probably be willing to sell.
- Jeter is, believe it or not, best friends with “Marlins Man.”
Okay, I obviously made the last part up — pardon my attempt at levity.
During his playing career Jeter made over $265 million in contracts before taxes and everything else. I have no idea how much he has in the bank or what his assets portfolio looks like. Given his persona, I’d wager a strong guess Jeter made smart investments with his money, or at least cautious ones rather than becoming a silent partner in an emu ranch. He still probably wouldn’t have enough money to buy the Marlins by himself. Forbes rated the team to be worth $500 million earlier this year before it re-signed Giancarlo Stanton to his $325 million contract. Another guess: if Jeter wanted to seek out investors to buy the team, he wouldn’t have trouble finding them because he’s, well, Derek Jeter.
Buying the Marlins is at least attainable for Jeter, compared to most other teams. Think how many billions the Yankees would cost if the Steinbrenner family ever put them on the market.
Despite their maligned reputation, the Marlins would be a good investment since the team has a new stadium in place (let’s set aside how Loria financed it for the time being) and a young core of players. Replace Loria with Jeter — in whatever capacity — and instantly the entire tenor of the franchise changes. You might even attract some displaced New Yorkers living in South Florida to come out to the stadium simply on the allure of the Jeter’s brand.
And yes, the Marlins have won two World Series since their inception in 1993 but a new Jeter ownership group could conceivably re-brand the club without much of an uproar. (The South Florida Captains, perhaps?) Working within a stone’s throw of South Beach isn’t a bad thing, either, I’m told.
If Michael Jordan can own the Charlotte Hornets there’s nothing all that crazy about Jeter going out and buying a stake in the Marlins.
Also, no matter whom succeeds him, how cagey (if loathsome) is Loria going to end up looking? He gets the taxpayers to foot the bill on a new stadium. He signs Stanton to that huge contract, but odds are Loria’s name won’t be on the paychecks when the back-loaded contract actually becomes massive. Add it up and he’s going to make out like a bandit when it sells for a massive profit on the $160 million he spent to buy the team in 2002.