Derek Jeter and the Miami Marlins are parting ways. Jeter stepped down as CEO effective immediately on Monday, sending shockwaves through the baseball world as league and union officials negotiate to end the lockout and avert postponing opening day.
Jeter, who joined the club in September 2017 as part of an ownership change, announced the sides are "officially ending" their relationship and he will no longer be a shareholder.
— Jordan McPherson (@J_McPherson1126) February 28, 2022
Jeter wrote in a statement:
"Today I am announcing that the Miami Marlins and I are officially ending our relationship and I will no longer serve as CEO nor as a shareholder in the Club. We had a vision five years ago to turn the Marlins franchise around, and as CEO, I have been proud to put my name and reputation on the line to make our plan a reality. Through hard work, trust and accountability, we transformed every aspect of the franchise, reshaping the workforce, and developing a long-term strategic plan for success.
"That said, the vision for the future of the franchise is different than the one I signed up to lead. Now is the right time for me to step aside as a new season begins.
"My family and I would like to thank our incredible staff, Marlins fans, Marlins players, and the greater Miami community for welcoming us with open arms and making us feel at home. The organization is stronger today than it was five years ago, and I am thankful and grateful to have been a part of this team."
The New York Yankees legend and Hall of Famer held an ownership stake of approximately 4%. His entrance was part of the $1.2 billion purchase from Jeffrey Loria in 2017. Bruce Sherman, Marlins chairman and principal owner, released his own statement that the sides had "agreed to officially end their relationship."
"The Marlins thank Derek for his many contributions and wish him luck in his future endeavors.
"We have a deep bench of talent that will oversee both business and baseball decisions while we work to identify a new CEO to lead our franchise. The ownership group is committed to keep investing in the future of the franchise — and we are determined to build a team that will return to the postseason and excite Marlins fans and the local community."
Marlins general manager Kim Ng is one of those on the deep bench and according to veteran baseball journalist Peter Gammons there's a feeling she could have "significant authority."
All the Marlins baseball ops people were hastily called to a Zoom meetng where Bruce Sherman broke the news on Derek Jeter's departure. There's a strong feeling through the organization that Kim Ng has significant authority, building on the respect she has built on every level.
— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) February 28, 2022
Commissioner Rob Manfred also released a statement thanking Jeter for his "valuable contributions."
“On behalf of Major League Baseball, I thank Derek for his service to the Marlins, the communities of Miami and the game. Derek is a winner on and off the field. In addition to his valuable contributions as a front office executive, Derek was a highly respected voice on our Diversity and Competition Committees. He helped build a talented front office with the Marlins, including moving the game forward by hiring women in top roles in the Club’s baseball operations and executive leadership, and a foundation that has positioned the Marlins for long-term success. Derek is a pillar of our game and we look forward to his future contributions to Baseball.”
Jeter was MLB's first and so far only Black chief executive officer. His contract was not set to expire until later in the year, per The Athletic.
The Marlins' only winning season during Jeter's tenure was in the shortened 2020 season when the club finished 31-29. They were swept in the NLDS.
Players react to Jeter's sudden departure
Jeter's departure was abrupt, relayed to Marlins employees in a "hastily called" meeting, and comes as MLB and the players union continue lockout negotiations. Reading between the lines of Jeter's statement, players appeared to question what's happening inside the Marlins organization that would make Jeter want out.
The Capitan being The Capitan #RESPECT
The integrity of this guy is one of the thing he showed me and stick out with me during the last 4 years, and even when I gonna miss him on my team Derek was a great mentor to me and help me to be a leader. This is what leaders do. pic.twitter.com/mt0CeaNbWx
— Miguel Rojas (@MRojasOfficial) February 28, 2022
— GarvSauce (@MitchGarver) February 28, 2022
— Jason Castro (@J_Castro15) February 28, 2022
Competitive integrity has been a point of discussion during negotiations. The Marlins, Tampa Bay Rays and Pittsburgh Pirates were hit with a grievance that they did not spend enough of their revenue-sharing money on payroll during the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Players want owners to put more focus on winning games than on penny-pinching to earn larger profits.