If that turns out to the be case, he will follow a path forged by his brother George W. Bush, who was managing general partner of the Texas Rangers from 1989 to 1994 before embarking on a political career that eventually led to the White House.
Jeter’s precise role with the Marlins is not yet known, but he seems likely to want to be more than a figurehead. Jeter, who lives in Tampa, Fla., has been relatively active, both professionally and personally, since retiring after the 2014 season. He started a website for athletes and a publishing imprint, and he married the supermodel Hannah Davis. The couple are expecting their first child, a daughter, this year.
Jeter earned more than $265 million in salary over his 20-year career, spent entirely with the Yankees, with whom he won five World Series and lost two, including one to the Marlins in 2003. He is a revered Yankee, and it might be jarring to see him working with another club.
“I’m sure it would be,” said Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner, a former teammate. “But baseball organizations don’t come up for sale on an annual basis. It’s one of those things, if it’s something that he wants to be involved in, you can’t sit around and wait for the Yankees to come up for sale.”
Another former teammate, C. C. Sabathia, said he would never want to own a team because he would not want the blame when things went awry. But he said Jeter had long been eager for that kind of challenge — and if the sale goes through, Jeter would technically be a boss of another former Yankees captain, Don Mattingly, now the Marlins’ manager.
“He’s always talked about it,” Mattingly told The Sun-Sentinel this month, referring to Jeter’s ownership aspirations. “I asked him if he wanted to coach and he’s like, ‘Never.’ I’m sure he’ll be good. Jeets pretty much seems to be good at everything he tries to do.”
While some former superstars in other sports have been involved in team ownerships — examples include Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky and Michael Jordan — there is little precedent in baseball. The Los Angeles Dodgers’ ownership includes Magic Johnson, the former N.B.A. star and current president for basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers.
When the Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan was president of the Texas Rangers, he joined the ownership group that bought the team at a bankruptcy auction in 2010. Ryan was chief executive of the Rangers when they twice reached the World Series, and he retired from the team in 2013.
The Athletics franchise has also had former players among its ownership. Connie Mack, who played for 11 seasons in the late 1800s, later became the longtime manager and owner of the Philadelphia A’s. The former outfielder Billy Beane, who has gained fame as the head of the Oakland A’s baseball operations department, is a minority owner of the team.
The Marlins have been owned since 2002 by Jeffrey Loria, a New York art dealer with a fondness for former Yankees. Loria succeeded in getting a new ballpark built for the franchise in 2012, but the Marlins have been plagued by low attendance and distrust of the ownership by the team’s fans.
While sometimes giving out lavish contracts — including a record 13-year, $325 million deal to the slugger Giancarlo Stanton — Loria has also, at various times, reversed course and slashed payroll with little warning. The Marlins have not reached the postseason since their 2003 championship, and their current playoff drought is the longest in the National League.
Even so, Loria stands to turn an enormous profit if the sale to the Jeter-Bush group goes through. He bought the Marlins for $158 million after Major League Baseball had purchased his previous team, the Montreal Expos, for $120 million and lent him the rest to complete the deal for the Marlins.
Forbes recently valued the Marlins at $940 million, but the reported $1.3 billion price for this deal would be the second-highest ever paid for a baseball franchise, behind only the sale of the Dodgers for $2 billion in 2012.
According to a sports lawyer familiar with the Marlins’ situation, two of the attractive elements in purchasing the team would be the financial potential in arranging a new broadcast deal and a stadium naming-rights agreement. Jeter and Bush’s status as in-state owners should enhance the team’s brand, the lawyer said.
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