Miami Marlins: Romney and Glavine group has top bid to buy team

Despite a false alarm, the sale of the Miami Marlins is not yet a done deal. A group led by Tagg Romney and Tom Glavine has reportedly submitted the largest bid, however.

Last week it seemed like a deal to sell the Miami Marlins to a group led by former Governor Jeb Bush and retired Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was on its way toward completion. We soon learned, however, from MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred that there was still another bidder involved in the process and that no agreement had officially been reached.

That other party appears to have upped the ante. According to a report from Barry Jackson and Douglas Hanks of the Miami Herald, a group fronted by businessman Tagg Romney, son of one-time presidential candidate Mitt Romney, has submitted an offer worth just above the $1.3 billion bid by the Jeter/Bush effort.

The source claims that the Romney group’s bid comes in at more than $1.3 billion, but less than $1.4 billion. The Marlins and Major League Baseball are reviewing the offers, with Manfred providing the following update to the Herald:

“We have two very strong groups that we believe will have sufficient financial resources to complete the sale and run the team effectively.”

“Run the team effectively” should be a welcome concept to Marlins fans who have grown weary of Jeffrey Loria’s unpopular ownership over the years. Amid buzz about a potential ambassadorship, Loria is apparently motivated to sell the franchise in short order.

The competing groups are similar in that they unite a member of a prominent political family with a renowned former ballplayer. Hall of Famer Tom Glavine counts himself as part of Romney’s faction, lending some baseball credibility and star power to the bid.

While we don’t know too much about the Romney camp’s plans for the Marlins should they close the deal, aside from Glavine desiring a front office role, we’ve recently learned more about Bush and Jeter’s prospective ownership.

Per the Herald story, Bush suggested that he would adopt a patient approach to building the roster as opposed to overseeing a significant increase in payroll. Jeter would apparently be put in charge of baseball operations.

Bush, who was Governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007, also expressed an interest in boosting the Marlins’ presence and engagement in Latin America. He remains confident that an agreement will eventually be reached.

Actually meeting the discussed purchase price, however, might be easier said than done. The Herald says that Loria and Bush had a handshake agreement to complete the deal, but the former politician has yet to prove that he and his investors indeed have enough. MLB and the Marlins continue sifting through the financial tangle.

It seems like this is still anyone’s ballgame and nothing is yet set in stone. If the commissioner is to be believed, we should know who the new owners of the Marlins will be sooner rather than later.

One thing is for certain, though: Loria will sell the team for vastly more than the $158 million he paid for it in 2002.

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