Diamond Baseball Holdings has reached an agreement to buy the Worcester Red Sox, the Red Sox’ Triple A team, according to an industry source.
The WooSox’ 35-year lease to play at Polar Park, which opened three years ago, remains intact.
Larry Lucchino, the principal owner of the ball club that he helped move from its longtime home in Pawtucket, R.I., and the former president and CEO of the Boston Red Sox, is expected to stay on in his role as chairman.
The deal is pending the approval of Major League Baseball.
“We have no news or announcements at this point,” a spokesperson for the WooSox said via text message.
Diamond Baseball Holdings was founded two years ago, not long after Major League Baseball gained control of Minor League Baseball and contracted it so that each of the 30 big league teams had exactly four minor league affiliates for a total of 120.
DBH already owns the Red Sox’ Single A Salem Red Sox and Double A Portland Sea Dogs.
The WooSox would become the group’s 27th team.
DBH is led by executive chairman Pat Battle and CEO Peter Freund. Among its other non-Red Sox teams are the Yankees’ Triple A affiliate, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders, as well as the Triple A affiliates of the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals, Orioles, Braves, Twins, and Rockies.
A price tag on the transaction is not known, although an industry source earlier this month suggested that the franchise could sell for approximately $70 million.
Lucchino and the other partners bought the franchise for approximately $25 million in 2015. Prior to the move to Worcester, the franchise played in Pawtucket from 1973 through 2020. The Lucchino-led ownership group originally hoped to keep the team in Rhode Island, but no deal could be reached. The franchise moved to Worcester when Polar Park, which cost $159 million, opened its doors in 2021.
DBH is buying out a majority of the 11 owners of the club.
DBH is believed to have made a bid of approximately $50 million two years ago to buy the Worcester team.
Earlier this month, Lucchino provided a good-sized hint that a sale was approaching.
”I’m now 78, I’ve been at this for over 40 years, so it’s time to sell this team and move on to blissful retirement,” said Lucchino to former Boston TV sports anchors Bob Lobel and Mike Lynch on their UnAnchored podcast. “We’ve been talking to various people for many months trying to find a local owner who would step up.
“It’s something that’s been going on for some time, but whether it happens in the next six weeks or six months or six years remains to be seen.”
Fenway Sports Group, the owner of the Red Sox, is one of the WooSox partners.
Lucchino also is an FSG partner and helped form the ownership group headed by John Henry and Tom Werner that bought the Red Sox in 2002. Lucchino served as president of the Red Sox from 2002-15.
Prior to that, Lucchino was president and CEO of the San Diego Padres and president of the Baltimore Orioles.
Henry also owns the Boston Globe.
Michael Silverman can be reached at email@example.com.