Derek Jeter, the former Yankee shortstop and captain, has been named the new owner of the Miami Marlins. The team is currently in last place in Major League Baseball’s National League East Division.
Derek Jeter is preparing for an active offseason to try to turn the Miami Marlins into a winner.
MIAMI, Fla. — As the aircraft carrying Derek Jeter to the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cooperstown, New York, was landing, he put the final touches on his speech.
It was expected to be finished a lot sooner. Things sometimes take longer than expected.
That’s a lesson Jeter has been learning for the last four years as CEO of the Miami Marlins. The Marlins aren’t winning at the pace Jeter desires, so he stated on Saturday that he’ll be spending the summer attempting to improve the club via free agency and trades.
“I anticipate us to be very busy this summer, whether it’s talking to free agents or looking into other options,” Jeter said. “But, for the first time since we’ve been here as an ownership group, I anticipate to be quite engaged — or, to put it another way, to have fairly active discussions. There are two sides to this story.”
Even Jeter, though, is unsure what it implies. With a new local broadcast contract and a naming-rights arrangement for the team’s stadium, the Marlins’ income sources have increased over the last year, but Jeter didn’t say whether Miami, which has often placed at the bottom of the MLB payroll rankings, intends to spend more in 2022.
“We’ll see,” remarked Jeter. “Conversations.”
The rebuilding process under Jeter has not been easy or fast.
Miami reached the playoffs last season, despite the fact that clubs only played 60 games due to the coronavirus epidemic, ending a 17-year postseason drought. In reaction to their postseason run, Don Mattingly of the Marlins was overwhelmingly chosen as the National League’s finest manager, and Miami went into this season with high expectations.
The Marlins will end the season about 30 games below.500, and even with last year’s postseason appearance, Miami has the poorest record in the National League in Jeter’s four seasons. Miami had the third-worst record in the majors since the start of the 2018 season, a half-game behind Kansas City and ahead of only Detroit and Baltimore.
“Nobody is pleased. No one should be content “According to Jeter. “Especially the players, who are getting a taste of the playoffs after what they accomplished last year. Coming into this year, I believe the expectations were a little bit greater. When you have a season like this, you have to go back and analyze, review, and figure out how you’re going to improve in the summer for the next year.”
Jeter communicates with important members of the organization on a regular basis, including Marlins general manager Kim Ng. Even if he isn’t with the club on a daily basis, the half-hour he spent watching batting practice on Saturday demonstrated that being near the Hall of Famer is still a huge thing for baseball fans.
He grabbed a position behind the plate at the back of the cage, where he had a half-dozen or more short discussions with Marlins players, personnel, and even some Philadelphia Phillies players who came over to say hello.
“These guys obviously know who Derek is,” Mattingly added. “Almost everyone you’d ever speak to has respect for what he’s done, what he stands for, and how he did it.”
Jeter was inducted into the Hall of Fame earlier this year, after being scheduled to be inducted in 2020 in a ceremony that was postponed due to the epidemic. Mariano Rivera, his longtime New York Yankees teammate, is the only player who has appeared on 100% of votes.
“Nobody is pleased. Nobody should be content. Especially the players, who are getting a taste of the playoffs after what they accomplished last year. Coming into this year, I believe the expectations were a little bit greater.”
Derek Jeter, coming off a postseason berth with the Marlins in 2021.
Jeter played with the Yankees for his entire 20-year MLB career, winning five World Series championships. He was a 14-time All-Star and the 1996 American League Rookie of the Year, with 3,465 hits, behind just Pete Rose, Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron, Stan Musial, and Tris Speaker on the all-time hits list.
When the playing days were over, it was obvious that he wanted to be in charge of a team. Jeter was part of the group that earned the right to purchase the Marlins in August 2017, a $1.2 billion transaction that was completed two months later. Jeter had a 4% interest in the company and served as its CEO, managing baseball operations.
There are encouraging signs: the pitching staff is strong, the farm system is strong, and Jeter thinks that Miami’s youthful core is developing into a winner. It’s simply not enough at the moment.
“I didn’t have any expectations going into it,” Jeter remarked. “We had a clear idea of what we intended to accomplish. We understood there would be measures to improve along the road. Those steps take time to complete. They do, however, require time.”
Similarly to the speech. That turned out to be a winner, and Jeter remains optimistic about the Marlins’ chances.
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