In July, I wrote how Jeffrey Loria, at the time the owner of the Marlins, was bad for baseball, the Marlins’ franchise, fans, and the city of Miami. I ended the article saying Derek Jeter was right for the future of the Marlins and the city of Miami. This past September Jeter and Bruce Sherman inked their deal to buy the Marlins.
Now fast forward four months and Jeter is fielding calls from season ticket holders complaining about their recent payroll load off of Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, and Dee Gordon. Today, Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred was interviewed on The Dan Le Batard Show, a part of ESPN Radio, tensley defending Jeter.
The Miami fans are doubtful and have little faith in their new ownership. Rightfully so after the previous ownership. Loria took that team and ran it into the ground. The fans have seen an owner come in and ship off all their best players before. But Jeter is different than Loira. Jeter isn’t in this ownership for financial gain. Loria was a businessman, Jeter is a baseball player. Jeter is dedicated to winning and Jeter understands he needs to earn the trust of his new fan base.
Jeter held a town hall meeting with about 200 season ticket holders. During the 90 minute meeting Jeter answered upset fans questions, expressing his desire to improve the team. “We gave a gift, right?” said Jeter during the meeting. “I hope every gift I give returns $265 million,” speaking of the $265 million in relief the team got from payroll. There’s a lot Jeter could do with that money. Laurence Leavy, most well known as the “Marlin Man,” told Jeter he’s been a season ticket holder for 10 years and will not renew this year because he won’t pay “major league prices for a Triple-A Team. One way Jeter could give back that $265 million gift to his fans and reduce the ticket prices. That would make the game affordable for the people of Miami, as well as encourage more people to get out to the ballpark.
Money is important to a team, but so is building prospects and a farm system pipe. In the Stanton deal the Marlins got prospects Jorge Guzman (RHP) and Jose Devers (Infielder). While the deal was certainly a salary dump, it also gave them Guzman who has a very solid fastball. In the Gordon deal the Marlins acquired the Mariners No. 2 and No. 7 prospects (Nick Neidert and Christopher Torres), along with one other minor league player. In the Ozuna trade the Marlins received prospect Sandy Alcantara along with three other players from the Cardinals. To be successful in the long run you need to build players, not just through money at the team and buy them.
The Marlins have won two World Series and have the basis to be able to win another one. Both Jeter and the fans need to be patient with each other. In baseball it’s hard to turn things around in a matter of months, especially after an owner like Loira. As I said before. Jeter is a baseball player first and wants to win. The fans need to give him some time before they throw in the towel.