The Marlins have set up a trust fund to cover the education and financial future of the daughter of late pitcher Jose Fernandez.
Fernandez's girlfriend Maria Arias gave birth to Penelope in February, five months after Fernandez was killed in a boat crash in Miami.
Marlins president David Samson said Thursday that the fund will ensure Penelope will be able to finish all schooling debt-free and will receive a distribution of remaining money into adulthood. In addition, Fernandez's mother, Maritza, will receive an annual sum under the trust.
Samson declined to confirm a Miami Herald report that money from the trust totals $700,000 and comes from an insurance policy the team received from Major League Baseball.
"I'm not going to talk about the amounts. There have been reports of amounts, and I guess you could take that for what it is," Samson said. "I just think it's enough to make sure that education will be paid for in addition to a yearly amount to his mom every single year.
"It's a substantial amount for a 3-month-old baby. … Whatever she wants to do, she has an opportunity to go to school and graduate debt-free."
Samson said Fernandez's family was informed of the trust fund last weekend. He said Fernandez's daughter "looks like Jose."
"She's a happy, great kid," Samson said. "It doesn't take away any of the hurt or any of the emotions that she'll go through as she gets older and realizes that she doesn't have a father that's alive and starts to learn about Jose."
According to the Herald report, MLB's insurance policy normally pays $1 million to a team when a player dies, but the insurance company balked at paying that amount after the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission concluded that Fernandez was driving the boat at the time of the crash and had traces of cocaine in his system and a blood-alcohol level of nearly twice the legal limit.
Two other Miami men, Emilio Macias and Eduardo Rivero, were also killed in the crash on the jetty at Government Cut on Sept. 25.
Samson offered nothing definitive on the potential sale of the Marlins aside from affirming that negotiations are continuing with more than one group. He expressed confidence that the matter would be resolved before the next owners meetings in August.
"I would say that this is not the type of process that drags on for an indefinite period of time. You're either able to come to a deal with a group that has interest or you cannot and you decide what you're doing from there," Samson said.
"By no means does Jeffrey [Loria] have to sell the team at all. If it doesn't make sense he's not going to. But I would say, as we sit here today, we're progressing toward that."
Although Jeb Bush has dropped out of a partnership with Derek Jeter, the former Yankees captain is still leading a group seeking the club, according to multiple reports, as is a rival group headed by Tagg Romney, son of former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Samson has avoided identifying suitors for the franchise.
"I'd say there's a focus on two groups, but there's others lurking around," Samson said.
‘Magic bat’ reprise
In the latest installment of the saga of the borrowed Ichiro Suzuki bat, hot-hitting outfielder Marcell Ozuna has decided to continue using what he described as a "magic bat."
Ozuna was 4-for-6 with two home runs using the Ichiro model on Tuesday and Wednesday. He stopped using it after hitting a homer his first time up Wednesday and later said he was going to retire the bat and display it in his home.
He changed his mind and before Thursday's game said, "I'm going to use it until I break it."
The Ichiro bat is one-half inch shorter than Ozuna's regular 34-inch model. Marlins manager Don Mattingly said it is surprising how different it can feel to swing a bat even slightly shorter than normal and it can be helpful when a hitter is having trouble handling pitches in tight.
"A guy like Jeter never used anything different. The first bat he used when he first started playing he never changed ever. Same company, same length, same ounces," Mattingly said. "Other guys just pick up whatever feels good."