President: Multiple parties in talks to buy Miami Marlins

MIAMI (AP) Miami Marlins President David Samson says talks with multiple parties interested in buying the team are in the ''fourth inning,'' leaving lots of uncertainty about the future of the franchise.

Hours before the Marlins' home opener Tuesday, Samson said owner Jeffrey Loria might sell before the end of the season - or not at all.

''There's not a guarantee that a transaction will happen,'' Samson said.

He declined to identify any suitors. Former Yankees captain Derek Jeter and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush are reportedly involved separately with groups that have showed interest in buying the team. Joshua Kushner, whose older brother is an adviser to President Donald Trump, had a preliminary agreement to buy the Marlins before breaking off negotiations.

''There's definitely a lot of interest in the team,'' Samson said.

Samson is beginning his 16th season as team president and didn't rule out remaining on the job if Loria sells. Whether Samson would have a role under a new owner has been part of sale discussions, he said, but he declined to elaborate.

''That's more of an eighth-inning issue than a fourth-inning issue,'' Samson said.

Loria, 76, bought the Marlins for $158.5 million in 2002 from John Henry, part of the Boston Red Sox ownership group that has celebrated three World Series titles. The Marlins won the World Series in 2003 but haven't been to the postseason since, and haven't finished above .500 since 2009.

When asked if sale talks were at an advanced stage, Samson said: ''I would say fourth inning, and we've never gotten past the second inning before. It's further than we've been, but a lot can still happen.''

Loria attended the Marlins' game Tuesday against Atlanta, but did not speak with the media.

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More AP baseball: apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

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