Samson on Marlins tenure: 'A true honor'

Current team president says sale could be closed in matter of days

September 28th, 2017

MIAMI -- The passing of the torch in Marlins' ownership is days away from being completed, and on Thursday, current team president David Samson expressed complete confidence in the new regime, led by venture capitalist Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter.

On Wednesday, MLB unanimously approved the sale of the franchise from Jeffrey Loria to a group headed by Sherman and Jeter for $1.2 billion. The Marlins wrap up their season on Sunday against the Braves at Marlins Park, and sometime next week, the transaction is expected to be official.

"They're so happy to be part of this community and to be doing this," Samson said. "It's not a short-term thing for either one of them. At the end of the day, it just made the most sense for Jeffrey and for baseball to consummate a deal with Bruce and Derek."

Samson noted his final day as team president will be Sunday, and beginning on Monday, the Marlins enter what promises to be a busy offseason. Closing on the deal could be done in a few days, and early next week, a news conference is expected to introduce Sherman and Jeter.

"We're trying to get it closed as soon as we can," Samson said. "It's being worked on right now, but I would say it can be counted in days, not weeks."

Sherman and Jeter will become the fourth ownership team since the Marlins' inaugural 1993 season.

On Thursday, Samson met with team employees, and prior to batting practice, manager Don Mattingly and Samson spoke with the players before they faced the Braves.

"I had a chance to meet with the staff today and all the employees, with Sunday being my last day," Samson said. "What a true honor it's been to serve here in Miami for 16 years, and in baseball for 18. It's hard to believe all the things that have gone on in this community since we got here. None of this would be possible without Jeffrey Loria.

"I wanted to very much thank the fans and people who aren't fans in this community. They always understood what we were trying to do as a baseball team. There's more than one way to get to one place. I've always enjoyed the back-and-forth, talking with fans and talking about different ways of what we all wanted to accomplish, which was the same goal."

Loria purchased the Marlins in 2002, and in '03, the organization won its second World Series title. In Loria's tenure, the team had five winning seasons, but it has not had a winning season since '09, and it has missed the postseason every season since '03.

is having an MVP-worthy season, and he leads the Majors with 57 home runs. Despite this and other individual accomplishments, team goals have been missing.

There promises to be turnover in the offseason, but how much remains to be seen. Stanton's salary jumps to $25 million in 2018, and the slugger has $295 million remaining on his contract. If the team goes into a rebuilding mode, Stanton and perhaps more core players could be traded.

Whether the decision is made to keep the core or move in another direction, Samson said he hopes the market gives the new ownership group a chance to build a sustainable roster.

"I think we need a few breaks," Samson said of baseball having a chance to catch on in South Florida. "We need, for one time, to have complete calmness, around the Marlins. And to have people to have faith in leadership."