Huizenga Selling Marlins for Reported $150 Million

From Associated Press

Winning the World Series didn't change the bottom line for Florida Marlin owner Wayne Huizenga. He announced Thursday he is close to selling the team to a group headed by team President Don Smiley.

The group--at least 25 investors--has 30 days to reach a sale agreement. The asking price for the team is said to be $150 million, and Smiley's group reportedly has commitments for two-thirds of the money.

"We don't want to sell the Marlins, but we feel we must in order to improve the chances of a new stadium being built," Huizenga said.

"And unless a new stadium is built, where luxury suite and all other revenue go directly to the team, which will enable the team to compete for the best players, I do not believe the Marlins will ever be in a World Series again."

Huizenga will continue to own the team until baseball approves any sale, a process that usually takes six to 12 months. He thinks local governments, who agreed to finance an arena for for his Florida Panthers of the NHL, won't work with him on building a retractable-roof ballpark for the Marlins.

The billionaire also owns the NFL's Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins and the Marlins play at the Huizenga-owned Pro Player Stadium, where money for luxury boxes goes to pay bondholders.

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Texas traded catcher Jim Leyritz to the Boston Red Sox in a five-player deal for pitcher Aaron Sele and two former Rangers.

Texas sent Leyritz and center fielder Damon Buford to the Red Sox for the right-handed Sele, right-handed reliever Mark Brandenburg and catcher Bill Haselman.

Leyritz, 33, batted .277 with 11 homers and 64 RBIs in 121 games with the Angels and Rangers last season.

Sele, 27, was 13-12 with a 5.38 earned-run average in 33 starts with the Red Sox last season. He led the club in wins and starts and was third in innings (177 1/3) and strikeouts (122).

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The expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays, having narrowed their list of candidates to five, may hire their first manager as early as today.

The new AL team is expected to pick from among Baltimore hitting coach Rick Down, Cleveland scout Ted Simmons, Florida pitching coach Larry Rothschild, Detroit coach Larry Parrish and Marlin bench coach Jerry Manuel.

The Devil Rays want to have a manager in place for the expansion draft Nov. 18.

Meanwhile, free agent Paul Molitor said he might sign with the Toronto Blue Jays, but not as a player-manager.

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Dodger outfielder Brett Butler, who intends to retire, filed for free agency Thursday along with Seattle second baseman Joey Cora.

There have been 133 players who have filed for free agency thus far, and up to eight more are eligible to file by Monday's deadline.

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Minnesota Twin owner Carl Pohlad would donate his team to a charitable foundation and taxpayers would build a $250 million open-air ballpark under a plan announced Thursday.

"This is a last-best hope for keeping the Twins in Minnesota," Gov. Arne Carlson said.

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Todd Hundley, the New York Mets' all-star catcher, underwent surgery for the second time in six weeks, this time to remove bone spurs and other damage from his left shoulder.

Hundley also underwent surgery Sept. 26 for reconstruction of his right elbow. He is not expected back from that injury until midseason at the earliest.

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