Miami Marlins owner Derek Jeter has turned the team over quite a bit since taking over. When Jeter’s group first assumed control, the Marlins were blessed with talented youngsters like Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna. A few months later, those players were gone.
Why did Jeter feel it was necessary to make those moves? Because that core wasn’t winning.
Jeter sat down with Harold Reynolds of MLB Network to discuss those initial moves. Jeter tells Reynolds the team was struggling with those players, and that the ownership group was “fixing something that wasn’t working.”
“You have an opportunity, I keep drilling in everyone’s head, every single day to win a game.” - @Marlins CEO Derek Jeter sat down with Harold Reynolds to talk about the state of baseball in South Florida. pic.twitter.com/6Fts9tjOsF
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) March 27, 2019
Here’s the full quote from Jeter:
“The team didn’t win. The team didn’t finish above .500 since 2009. It hadn’t been to the postseason since 2003. So we’re fixing something that wasn’t working.
“Yeah, I understand the fact that there was a core group of players here — and they’re all great players, we’ve never shied away from saying that — but the bottom line, if you want to be sustainable over time, you have to build your system. And for whatever reason, that group didn’t win.”
There’s a lot to unpack in those quotes. First, Jeter acknowledges the team traded away some great players. He’s not ripping Ozuna, Stanton or Yelich with those quotes.
With that said, Jeter does put some responsibility on those guys by saying “the team didn’t win” and “for whatever reason, that group didn’t win.”
It’s worth asking why that was the case? The Marlins had plenty of excellent players when Jeter’s group first took over. Between those three and J.T. Realmuto, there was a promising core in Miami.
But a core group of four players can’t do it alone. Even the “Core Four” of the New York Yankees needed help from other excellent players. George Steinbrenner was often happy to bring those guys in via free agency.
The Marlins presumably could have followed a similar track. They could have signed a few strong free agents during that first offseason. If Ozuna, Realmuto, Stanton and Yelich were supplemented by other above-average players, that team could have made a run. If not, they at least would have been watchable and fun.
We all know it didn’t play out that way. The Marlins new ownership group decided to be a lot similar to the old one, and shipped everyone out. The team is now in the midst of a lengthy rebuild, though the early results haven’t produced many impact prospects just yet.
The team managed to grab a top-25 prospect, Sixto Sanchez, in the Realmuto deal, but the Marlins’ other big-name prospects don’t appear until around No. 70 on Baseball Prospectus’ top-100 list.
If that works, great. Improving fan experience is an admirable goal. Then again, the best way to make fans happy is to win games, and that hasn’t been a priority for the Marlins lately.
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