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Marlins' sale 'not close,' but talks progressing

MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

MIAMI -- Marlins president David Samson said Thursday that talks are ongoing with groups interested in purchasing the team, but no agreement appears imminent.

Samson didn't mention any potential buyer, but the club reportedly is in talks with a group led by Tagg Romney, the son of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, and Derek Jeter remains in the picture with a second group.

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MIAMI -- Marlins president David Samson said Thursday that talks are ongoing with groups interested in purchasing the team, but no agreement appears imminent.

Samson didn't mention any potential buyer, but the club reportedly is in talks with a group led by Tagg Romney, the son of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, and Derek Jeter remains in the picture with a second group.

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Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Glavine is connected with the Romney group.

Since the start of Spring Training, the Marlins and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred have acknowledged team owner Jeffrey Loria is entertaining offers.

"We're in touch with groups, in touch with the Commissioner," Samson said. "Jeffrey is in a 'wait and see what happens' [mode]. I report to him every day on activities and what's happening. I wouldn't say anything is close to being announced. It is something that is worked on every day."

Recently, it was revealed that former Florida governor Jeb Bush had withdrawn from his pursuit of the club. Bush was teamed with Jeter, the iconic former Yankees shortstop, who has been open in the past about his interest in owning a big league club.

Jeter continues to have interest in the club. But the process projects to last months, or until after the All-Star break.

"It's not stagnant at all," Samson said. "It is moving forward. I'd say there is a focus on two groups but there's others lurking around."

The uncertainty of the ownership situation has raised questions about whether president of baseball operations Michael Hill will be at liberty to make personnel deals by the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

The Marlins had a rough May and entered Thursday's game against the D-backs with a 21-30 record.

Samson said the team is operating as business as usual.

"Jeffrey is in charge of the team," Samson said. "Mike Hill runs the baseball [side], I run the team. We all do it together as a group. There is no change in that.

"As far as this team is concerned, obviously we're all disappointed in how the team performed in May. We're hoping the last four games or six of eight we've won is a stepping stone. But it's not about one game or four games. It's about a consistent approach and seeing consistent improvement because we have to get out of the hole we've dug for ourselves."

Also on Thursday, Samson revealed the Marlins had established a trust to assist the family of Jose Fernandez, who died last September in a boating accident.

A theme for the team entering the season was to play with the passion Fernandez displayed. Now, Samson said, there is an urgency to win.

"We all talked about play it for Jose, or play it like Jose," Samson said. "It's not about that anymore. It's about going out and playing nine innings and recognizing we've been together as a group through a lot of stuff. There's a lot of good players on this team. It's a matter of winning games and not talking about it anymore."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Miami Marlins