The Miami (née Florida) Marlins are not a bad franchise. Many Major League Baseball teams would kill to have their pair of world championships—one in 1997, another in 2003—not to mention that baller location.
Although the Marlins are currently sitting 14 games out of first place and 8.5 away from a wild card bid, the team has a whole lot of upside, including number of talented youngsters like long-baller Giancarlo Stanton. And as of Saturday, the team’s been given a new lease on life, after it was reported that a group of investors, led by former New York Yankee Derek Jeter, had shelled out $1.2 billion for the franchise.
While there’s no argument that Jeter is a shoo-in Hall of Famer and held the coveted “captain” title on his former team, it’s unclear what kind of owner he will be.
As The New York Times notes, Jeter has some barriers to overcome before the franchise can said to be in good hands. Among these include his need to rebuild the Marlins’ minor league system, expand and tweak its payroll, potentially renegotiate a TV rights package, and find new reasons for fans to return to the ballpark.
As the Times notes, one of those reasons was popular pitcher José Fernández, who was tragically killed in a boating accident in 2016. He was tremendously popular in Miami’s Cuban community, something Jeter will need to be aware of (and welcoming to) after taking the reins.
But it’s not all an uphill battle for Jeter. His investment group could start the money-making process by selling off the Marlins’ stadium’s naming rights. The team would also benefit from having Jeter’s name behind it; likely, this would help bring more highly coveted free agents to the park. And lastly, simply having a new owner in place will spark a renaissance of sorts, as the Marlins’ current owner, Jeffrey Loria, is one of the least popular in the league.