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Jeffrey Loria close to selling Marlins?

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The club reportedly has a “handshake agreement” to sell the team.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Miami Marlins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Marlins and Owner Jeffrey Loria reportedly have a “handshake agreement” to sell the club to a New York-based real estate developer for $1.6 billion, according to Forbes.

Loria bought the team for $158 million in 2002 and has led the club ever since. Under Loria, the Marlins have moved from Miami Gardens’ Hard Rock Stadium to Marlins Park in downtown Miami.

The Marlins, with the exception of the last few seasons, have struggled to compete within the National League East and have had difficulty drawing fans. In 2016, the Marlins’ average attendance ranked last in the National League.

It’s unclear how serious the report is, but several earlier reports have indicated Loria might now be more open to selling because of the death of Jose Fernandez. Since Loria took over, with the exception of 2012, the Marlins have been reluctant to have payrolls far north of $100 million. With a new owner, that might change.