NEW YORK — Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says two groups are still bidding to buy the Miami Marlins from Jeffrey Loria.
Former New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush are involved in one of the groups. Bloomberg reported Tuesday that the Jeter/Bush group won an auction for the team with a $1.3 billion bid. Manfred said some reports on the sale have been premature.
“There are multiple bidders for the Marlins,” Manfred said Thursday at the groundbreaking for the Jackie Robinson Museum. “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.”
Asked about the timeline, Manfred responded: “The timeline is relatively short; it would be measured in days, not months.” He also said “there is not a signed document on any topic.”
“We still have two groups involved in the process,” he added. “Timing is one of the things that both the buyer and the seller are working through, so it’s just impossible to say at this point, and I don’t want to get into really what the issues are. The only reason I commented on this at all is there had been so much out there that really (is) not quite accurate.”
As Manfred was speaking, ESPN announced it was cutting back its “Baseball Tonight” studio program from all game nights to Sundays and special events. The MLB Network’s “Intentional Talk” will be broadcast on ESPN2 on weekdays from 4-5 p.m. during the season and for 30 minutes during the offseason.
A day earlier, ESPN announced about 100 layoffs amid a loss of subscribers and rising rights fees for live telecasts of games.
“We feel that we’ll continue to get outstanding coverage of baseball on ESPN,” Manfred said.
Manfred also said talks were ongoing with Cleveland Indians owner Paul Dolan about the team’s Chief Wahoo logo, which many find offensive.
“Those conversations have been productive, and when we come to a definitive timeline, believe me, we’ll let you know,” Manfred said.
Protesters gathered outside Cleveland’s Progressive Field before some games to demonstrate against the club’s use of the red-faced, smiling logo, which has been part of the team’s history dating to the 1940s.