Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred on Thursday labeled “premature” reports that a group headlined by Derek Jeter and Jeb Bush has received tentative approval to buy the Florida Marlins.
“Well, we have a policy; we don’t really comment on sale processes,” he said after a groundbreaking ceremony for the Jackie Robinson Museum in lower Manhattan. “There have been some premature, frankly, reports. There are multiple bidders for the Marlins. The Marlins are for sale. There is no agreement in place.
“We’re working with more than one group and when we have a definitive agreement we’ll make an announcement on that.”
Asked about a timeline for such a decision, Manfred said, “The timeline is relatively short. It would be measured in days, not weeks.”
Jeter, the former Yankees captain, has spoken for years about his desire to become an owner someday. Bush is the former governor of Florida. Their group would have to prove it has the proper financing before being approved by other MLB owners.
Manfred said he continues to discuss with the Indians and owner Paul Dolan the future of the team’s Chief Wahoo logo, which many regard as insensitive to Native Americans.
“I’m not going to go beyond the comments that I’ve made to date about Chief Wahoo,” he said. “I’m having continuing conversations with Mr. Dolan. Those conversations have been productive and when we come to a definitive timeline, believe me, we’ll let you know.”
On ESPN’s layoffs
In the wake of ESPN’s wave of layoffs this week, and with it what is expected to be a cutback of the long-running “Baseball Tonight” show to once a week, Manfred was asked about the effect on MLB.
“We’ve had extensive conversations with ESPN,” he said. “We made an announcement today about ESPN broadcasting [MLB Network’s] ‘Intentional Talk.’ We feel we’ll continue to get outstanding coverage of baseball on ESPN.”