CHICAGO — Derek Jeter has moved a step closer to becoming an owner of a major league team.
Commissioner Rob Manfred, speaking at the owners meetings, said that the Bruce Sherman-led ownership group trying to purchase the Miami Marlins has presented the league with a financial structure that would work for finalizing the deal, and he expressed confidence that a major league franchise can be successful in the market.
Sherman has signed $1.2 billion agreement to purchase the Marlins from Jeffrey Loria. Jeter is a limited partner in the group and will take over Miami’s business and baseball operations if the transaction is approved.
Sherman met with the MLB ownership committee on Wednesday, and the deal could be completed by the end of the season. Manfred brushed aside any concern over reports that the group is seeking more financing.
“The group led by Mr. Sherman has presented us with a financial structure that would allow them to close the transaction consistent with baseball’s rules,” he said.
Manfred also addressed speeding up the game, saying that he met with union head Tony Clark and a group of players.
The average time of a nine-inning game is a record 3 hours, 5 minutes this season, up from 3 hours last year and 2:56 in 2015, Manfred’s first season as commissioner.Manfred declined to get into any specifics about possible changes or what the league might do if it is unable to reach a deal with the union.
Management proposed making changes for this year, such as installing pitch clocks and limiting trips to the mound by catchers, but Clark said his side would not agree. The league can implement changes by itself with one-year advance notice.
“I think the best course for baseball — and by that I mean the clubs and the players — is for us to get an agreement,” Manfred said.