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Naimoli says his piece of team isn't for sale

Vince Naimoli plans to keep his share of the Rays.

Several groups have inquired about purchasing part of the Rays, but Naimoli said no one is going to be able to buy his share, and the control of the franchise that goes with it.

"It's not for sale," Naimoli said.

Speculation about Naimoli's future with the team was rampant during the ownership turmoil of the past few months. Some of the uncertainty was sparked by Naimoli's announcement in April that the team would hire an investment banker to explore various options, including a possible sale.

But Naimoli said Sunday that he has no plans to sell his share, which means that any purchase offers would be for "non-controlling interests."

And that means there shouldn't be much concern about the team moving to another city. "I'm committed to keeping the team in the area," Naimoli said.

There have been "quite a number" of groups that have expressed interest in buying the team. But Naimoli, the team's managing general partner and baseball appointed "control person," said it is so early in the process the team has not yet hired an investment banker or sent financial data to any potential buyers, an act that would require approval from Major League Baseball.

Naimoli said it is possible that "if a significant offer occurred" some of the team's other partners might be interested in selling their shares. "I can't speak for them at this point, but everything is stable in the franchise," he said.

A Washington, D.C., area group that includes Stephen Porter, who once headed the Tampa Bay expansion effort, is one of the groups that has expressed interest, Naimoli said.

"We have not negotiated with them, and we have no plans to," Naimoli said.

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