The Marlins Already Look Awful in 2018, but Derek Jeter is building for the future
By George Kurtz
Former Yankees shortstop and future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter was part of a group that bought the Miami Marlins from Jeffrey Loria last season. Jeter is a minority investor but runs the day to day operations of the team. He has also been a lightning rod for criticism since taking over the team. Jeter has been blasted for just about everything he’s done. From trading several star players to firing team employees. You really can’t blame the fans or the media for getting on Jeter as this fan base went through hell under Loria but I’m here to give you nine reasons why Jeter is doing the right thing, despite what you are seeing on the field right now.
- Just look at the Astros and Cubs: How do you think they went from the outhouse to the penthouse? They stripped it down and built it back up. The Marlins aren’t going to be competitive for a minimum of three seasons. Sure, players like Stanton, Yelich, and Ozuna would help sell tickets, but they weren’t going to bring this team any closer to a playoff berth, not with what they/are calling a pitching staff. They need to get their top draft picks and build up their minor league system so that they don’t have to pay for top talent when free agency hits.
- Giancarlo Stanton: There is little doubt that Stanton, when healthy, is one of the best players in MLB, despite his awful start to the season. The problem is, as stated above, the Marlins aren’t going to win for the next few seasons with or without Stanton. Shedding his contract allows the organization to have some financial flexibility in the future. Was it a great trade that Jeter made with the Yankees? No. It does seem to be a sweetheart deal for New York, and it will be soon enough. Not only did Jeter not get any of the Yankees top prospects, but he also didn’t get rid of the entire contract. In the end, that may have been the best deal he could get. It’s not like it was a secret that Stanton was on the trade block. The Marlins also received Starlin Castro, and if he can have a good first half with Miami, then he should bring back a prospect to two by the trade deadline.
- Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna: The trade of Ozuna to St. Louis did net them SP Sandy Alcantara, but that probably still wasn’t the haul people were expecting from a player who hit 37 HRs last season and may only now be reaching the peak of his talent. Yelich did get the Miami what most consider the top prospect in the Milwaukee system in Lewis Brinson, but it also took away what might be the last of the players that fans could have rooted for. Again though, this had to be done, as those players would not be with the team when they become competitive.
- New ownership wants their own people: If you or I or anyone else were to buy a business, wouldn’t you want your own people in place to help run it? This is not an indictment against anyone that Jeter has let go, it’s just an acknowledgement that he prefers his own people and I’m not sure that anyone can blame him for that. Sure, it’s a public relations nightmare, but one that we have seen many times whether it be the NFL, NHL, NBA, or any other business. Could he have handled it better? Yeah, but he is learning on the job here.
- Art sculpture in left-center: What went into the thinking here? Let’s put some huge “thing” in left-center field. We’ll call it art. It will be an eyesore and all that anyone will think of when this ballpark comes to mind. Hey, Stanton and Ozuna can try to dent it in batting practice and games. Why would you want to take up a couple thousand seats with this thing? The best course of action Jeter may do in his first year with Miami is take that “thing” down. Rumor has it that he and his group were not fans of it, and they could be in a local battle to get it removed. Fight the fight, get it taken down.
- Rip off the band-aid: What did mommy always tell you to do with a band-aid when you were a child? Rip it off and take all the pain in one shot rather than prolong it. Well that’s what Jeter has done. He was going to take a major PR hit no matter what he did, so, he has done it all in as short a time as possible. Sure, some fans and media may never forgive him, or at least not until the team starts to win again, but this was always going to happen. Unless he decides to trade J.T. Realmuto, he should be past most of the negativity for what happens off the field. Now he will just have to deal with how bad his team will be on it, and it looks as bad as advertised so far.
- The goal is still to make money: Fans and possibly even the media sometimes forget that a baseball team is a business like any other, and what’s the first rule/goal for a business? To make money. This is just another reason why Stanton had to be moved. Yes, he would’ve put more fannies in the seats, but not enough to pay off that contract. The Marlins have a terrible local television contract, so that wasn’t going to help. The team wasn’t going to be very competitive even if they didn’t trade anyone, not with a starting pitching staff that may be the worst in MLB. Jeter knows he can’t win right away in Miami, so the only way to impress is either to make money or at the very least, not hemorrhage it.
- They can’t finish middle of the pack: This also is true in most sports. It doesn’t pay to be a .500 team. A ballclub either needs to be a consistent playoff participant or a cellar dweller. If they are finishing .500, all that really does is placate the fans and possibly an owner who isn’t trying to win it all. By finishing around .500, when it comes to draft time, they are not picking at the top of the draft, but rather in the middle. Sure, it may end up that a top player falls to them, but odds are they won’t. A franchise needs to get those top picks to have a better chance at getting those high impact players. Therefore, stripping a team down, selling off high-priced assets, and getting those top picks has become almost routine in today’s game.
- Building the team in his own image: Jeter was a great player who played on great teams. He would seem to know the kind of players it takes to win championships. By sending away so many players, there is really no one that is a must-keep for Miami. He can now acquire the players that he wants, that he believes in.
— Paula M. Corapi (@accidentboricua) April 6, 2018