The 2019 Miami Marlins aren’t projected to win many games. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, especially after the team traded catcher J.T. Realmuto to the Philadelphia Phillies last week.
Because of that, FanGraphs projects the Marlins to win just 65 games in 2019. When asked about that low win total, Jeter didn’t get angry or try to refute that number. He instead tried to use it as a motivational tactic for his current players.
#Marlins are picked to finish last in the National League and with the second worst record in baseball according to @fangraphs , CEO Derek Jeter's response to that assessment: #MLB @NBC6Sports pic.twitter.com/OkmFEv9Ds1
— Chris Fischer NBC6 (@FischerNBC6) February 11, 2019
Jeter said he would take that projection as a “slap in the face if I was a player.” He then added that players should always look to prove people wrong.
Attempting to use that projection as a motivational tool is fine. Plenty of teams do it. The New England Patriots even tried to claim that no one believed in them on their way to winning what feels like their millionth Super Bowl.
It also ignores that the Marlins are once again projected to be a bad team. That’s also expected, as the team has clearly been in rebuild mode since Jeter took over. Still, there’s been no effort from the Marlins to try and add talent during the offseason. They aren’t alone in that. Plenty of teams that could benefit from a big free-agent signing have been quiet all offseason.
That’s a more troubling trend for the Marlins, though. After Jeter’s group purchased the team from Jeffrey Loria, fans thought things were going to change. Instead, they’ve been given more of the same.
Perhaps that will change in time. Maybe the Marlins will be much better than everyone expects. Maybe all the prospects will live up to their expectations. Maybe when the time comes, the Marlins will spend to lock up their young stars and supplement those players with big free-agent talent.
Until that happens, it’s tough to see the Marlins getting much better. And given how the team has operated over the years, it’s fair to wonder how long Jeter can use the “prove them wrong’ line before it starts to ring hollow.
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