It’s officially unofficial: a group led by the unlikely pairing of Jeb Bush and Derek Jeter is set to purchase the Miami Marlins from Jeffrey Loria for $1.3 billion. I repeat, $1.3 billion. Numbers can lose their meaning when they get that big. To put it in perspective, Jeter — the second-highest earner in MLB history — isn’t the money man; he’s reportedly just the handsome public face of the new ownership group.
Bush, the former Governor of Florida and polite requester of hand claps, would be the team’s new “control person” if the sale goes through.
Jeter and Bush still need to come up with the money, and the purchase still has to be approved by 23 of the league’s 30 owners. I can’t comment on the former — which will involve both finding investors and securing bank financing — but the latter should be a mere formality. Who wouldn’t swap the miserly Loria for the amorous and generous Jeter?
Without getting too far ahead of ourselves, let’s assume the bid succeeds and that Miami heads into next season under new management. What can we expect from a Jeb & Jeter-led franchise?
Fasten your seatbelts as we fire up the old OddsMobile.
Miami Marlins odds under Derek Jeter/Jeb Bush ownership
Odds the sale of the Marlins to the Jeter/Bush group goes through: 2/7
I know I just said we’re going to assume it goes through — and that I can’t really comment on the likelihood of Jeter/Bush finding the necessary investors and financing — but I changed my mind. Call me a flip-flopper. It’s fine to flip-flop on mundane topics like this … and war.
In all (make that some) seriousness, Miami is a huge market, and Jeter and Bush inspire confidence. Together they have a ton of baseball and governance experience. If I had a few million to throw around, I could get behind them.
Odds the Marlins’ first trade under Jeter/Bush ownership is with the …
- Yankees: 17/1
- Padres: 17/1
- Rangers: 25/1
- Mets: 29/1
- Red Sox: 35/1
Personal connections among owners and management actually do matter when it comes to pro sports trades. That’s why the Yankees top this list. A lot of people in the front-office still have “Jeets” on speed dial, I’m sure. That said, the Marlins and Yankees haven’t made a deal since 2014 (Nathan Eovaldi and Garrett Jones to the Yankees for David Phelps, Martin Prado and cash), according to Baseball Reference. The Marlins’ most common trade partner is the Padres, whom they made three deals with in 2016.
As for the Bo-Sox, they’re the anti-Yankees in this scenario. But don’t rule it out. Jeter might not even be in the front-office, in which case Boston will be just another team to the Miami management. The Mets and other
Odds the Marlins hire the following former Yankees before the start of the 2018 MLB season
- Tino Martinez: 7/1
- Jorge Posada: 9/1
- Alex Rodriguez: 12/1
- Joe Torre: 12/1
- Andy Pettitte: 15/1
Tino would make some sense. He has experience as a minor league hitting instructor and he’s from Tampa which, in the grand scheme of things, is sorta kinda close to Miami. A job with a big league club in his home state would be alluring.
A-Rod, now a special advisor with the Yankees, has managerial dreams. I don’t see him leaving the Big Apple for a non-managerial job and, as you’ll see below, I don’t see the Marlins parting with Don Mattingly in the immediate future.
Torre seems happy in his role at the Commissioner’s Office as Executive VP of Baseball Operations. Plus he was integral in the MLB’s 2015 Cuba trip, which might not have him in good standing with a large swath of the Miami population.
Odds any Marlin wears no. 2 on Opening Day 2018: 99/1
No one is wearing no. 2 right now, and switching to Jeter’s almost-trademarked digit wouldn’t be viewed as an homage; it would be seen as an arrogant and potentially disrespectful move.
Odds the Marlins open the 2018 season against the Yankees: 54/1
There has to be one inter-league series out of the gate, and the AL and NL East are on schedule to play each other next year. But this story won’t be dominating headlines for long. It’s basically random chance whether the Fish start the season with their series against the Pinstripes.
Odds Jeter is named President of Baseball Operations and/or GM of the Marlins in 2018: 5/3
When you hear former teammates and competitors talk about Jeter, there is one word consistently used: winner. It’s safe to say one of the greatest shortstops of all-time knows the game, but that doesn’t mean he can evaluate talent. And Jeter is not the individual who would let his ego take over. Bush and Jeter will do what’s best for the Marlins.
Odds the Marlins make the playoffs in 2018: 12/1
While JT Realmuto and Marcell Ozuna are enjoying breakout seasons, it’s also still very early. If this is more than just a hot-start for the two 26-year-olds, the Marlin offense could finish in the top-ten in the majors.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about their pitching staff. Not only do they lack an ace, their staff features a handful of guys who belong at the backend of a good rotation.
The Washington Nationals and New York Mets will make life tough for Bush and Jeter in the early stages of their ownership.
Odds the Marlins win the 2018 World Series: 66/1
Miami has too many holes, and 2018 is too soon to fill them.
Odds Don Mattingly is the Marlins’ manager on Opening Day 2018: 1/5
Mattingly was only hired ahead of the 2016 season, and he had his undermanned team in the Wild Card race for most of the year. He posted a 446-363 record with the Dodgers before that. He’s a capable bench boss — with obvious Yankee ties that won’t hurt him — and should be around come 2018, barring a Marlin collapse this year.
Over/Under on the Marlin’s payroll ranking at the start of the 2018 season: 10.5
Based on existing contracts and salaries, they’d go into 2018 with the 12th-highest payroll in the league. You can bet that a new ownership group won’t be as stingy as Loria and will want to endear themselves to fans with some splashy signings, something Loria long deprived them of.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.