SURPRISE, Ariz. — A group led by former Texas Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg has emerged as the front-runner to purchase the Frisco RoughRiders from Mandalay Sports Entertainment, according to sources.Mandalay Baseball Properties president Larry Freedman said they were “getting closer” to a deal, but declined to specify potential buyers. Greenberg, a Westlake resident, couldn’t be reached for comment.The agreement is not yet official, but is entering the final negotiation stages. An announcement could come before Frisco’s season begins on April 3. However, because of the time it takes to complete a deal of this size, it likely wouldn’t be finalized until the season is underway. It remains unknown at this point who is joining Greenberg in purchasing the club or what the sale price is. The RoughRiders were valued at $28 million by Forbes in July.Greenberg is the one who brought the Rangers’ ownership group together, led by Bob Simpson, Ray Davis and Nolan Ryan, which purchased the team out of bankruptcy court in August 2010.Greenberg became the team’s CEO, but that ended abruptly when he resigned in March 2011 because he and Ryan had “different styles” of doing business. Ryan took over the CEO title and held it until he resigned and sold his stake in the team in October.Greenberg, though, has maintained a positive relationship with the Rangers since stepping down. He is the chairman and managing partner of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the Rangers’ High A affiliate.Myrtle Beach has been an affiliate since 2011 and is widely praised by those within the organization who work closely with the minor league teams. But that player development contract expires at the end of this season.Frisco, meanwhile, has a player development contract that runs through the 2018 season. It’s been the Rangers’ Double A home since 2003 when Mandalay purchased and relocated the franchise from Shreveport, La.Mandalay, which is backed by private equity firm Seaport Capital, owns five minor league teams — Frisco, Oklahoma City, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Erie and Dayton — and is looking to sell all of them.If the deal goes through, Frisco would be the third minor league team owned by Greenberg, who is chairman and managing partner of the Pelicans and the State College Spikes, the Cardinals’ Short A affiliate.Greenberg previously owned the Altoona Curve, the Pirates’ Double A affiliate.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison