Feb. 9 (UPI) -- The Miami Marlins, who lost its ace pitcher in a September boating accident, are being sold, according to reports.
Forbes' Mike Ozanian reported Thursday that Marlins president David Samson told two of his anonymous sources that there is a "$1.6 billion 'handshake agreement'" for the franchise.
Current Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria bought the team in 2002 for $158 million. The Marlins were 79-82 last season and are 1,166-1,262 since 2002, good for a .480 winning percentage.
The Marlins haven't reached the playoffs since winning the World Series in 2003 and 1997. Loria's franchise averaged the worst attendance in the National League in 2016.
A New York City-based real estate developer is the interested party in the sale, according to Forbes.
Samson declined to comment on the potential purchase.
"I would tell you that to me there is no difference today than there was yesterday. Or tomorrow," Samson told the South Florida Sun Sentinel last week at the MLB owners meetings. "I don't know what tomorrow brings, but I know what yesterday and today bring."
"To me, there's nothing to talk about on that front still."
A potential snag in the deal could lie in the fact that the buyer's net worth is invested in real estate and the party won't have the cash to make the purchase outright.
"There are so many rumors all the time, we really don't address them," Samson told the Herald in December.
"There's a lot of people who want to own a Major League Baseball team around the country. Over 17 years, you hear from a lot of people. But nothing different than normal."
Forbes estimates the franchise to be worth $675 million.
A Boston Globe report from November specified that Solamere Capital attempted to purchase the Marlins. The Investment firm is run by Tagg Romney, the oldest son of Mitt Romney. That deal fell through.
That same month, the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson reported that Loria was "willing to consider offers" to sell the franchise.
"He's going to sell it, no doubt about it," a team official told the Herald's Clark Spencer.
The Marlins are hosting July's 2017 MLB All-Star Game at Marlins Park. The $639 million facility was opened in 2012 and primarily funded by taxpayers. It is owned by Miami-Dade County. The Marlins battle the Washington Nationals on April 3 for Opening Day at Nationals Park. Loria's franchise has the second-longest playoff drought in Major League Baseball.