JUPITER, Fla. -- Marlins president David Samson on Friday afternoon confirmed team owner Jeffrey Loria is going "through the process" to become the United States Ambassador to France, also acknowledging the organization is fielding offers from parties interested in purchasing the club.Samson said talks with a group headed by Joshua
JUPITER, Fla. -- Marlins president David Samson on Friday afternoon confirmed team owner Jeffrey Loria is going "through the process" to become the United States Ambassador to France, also acknowledging the organization is fielding offers from parties interested in purchasing the club.
Samson said talks with a group headed by Joshua Kushner have stopped, but there are other potential groups interested in purchasing the Marlins.
"Jeffrey Loria is definitely being considered to be the Ambassador to France," Samson said. "He's in the process right now. It is a long, complicated process. He certainly feels honored to even be in that process, as anyone I think would."
If Loria is offered the position and accepts, being a U.S. Ambassador would not prohibit him from owning the Marlins.
Confirmation that the club could be sold came on the first day of full-squad workouts for the Marlins, who opened Spring Training on Tuesday at the Roger Dean Stadium complex.
"We are blocking all that other stuff out," center fielder Christian Yelich said. "We're focused on baseball. That's what we're going to do."
Samson noted that the club has been approached numerous times in the past by investors interested in buying the Marlins. This time, Loria is giving serious consideration to sell the club that he assumed ownership of in 2002.
"As far as talks go, talks are ongoing with other groups who are interested in purchasing the team," Samson said. "Those talks will continue to be ongoing. To the extent that Josh Kushner has stopped talking, and that statement indicates he has, then I guess one of the other groups will prevail.
"There are many groups who are interested. We field offers often. The difference now, I think, is I feel those offers are being looked at very seriously."
There have been reports that Loria is open to selling the club since December. Forbes recently reported the team had a "handshake agreement" for $1.6 billion. Friday marked the first time the organization confirmed that the franchise may eventually be sold.
"For me, that deal [with Kushner] didn't happen," Samson said. "A different deal may happen, or will happen."
Asked if the Marlins are actively trying to sell the club, Samson responded.
"I don't know if I'd use the [word] 'active,'" Samson said. "I'd say the offers that are coming, we are listening to with greater interest. When you do that, you tend to have the willingness to have a successful transaction be completed."
This is a busy year for the Marlins and Major League Baseball in South Florida. First-round games of the World Baseball Classic will be played at Marlins Park in March. On July 11, Miami will host its first All-Star Game.
The player payroll is also at a franchise high, with the Opening Day roster projected to be around $110 million.
Samson said Loria has been evaluating when the time would be right to sell, and at some point this season, a deal may be completed.
"I think every day there is an evaluation of what your interest level is of listening to certain things," Samson said. "Sometimes it just hits right. I think that's the case here.
"I don't want there to be a timeline on anything, because I don't know how things happen. Given all the activity going on now, I think [selling] is something that is certainly possible."
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.