There has been a seismic shift in the management of the Marlins, as Derek Jeter announced on Monday that he is leaving the organization and will no longer be a manager or shareholder of the club. Jeter’s statement reads:
“Today I am announcing that the Miami Marlins and I are officially ending our relationship and I will no longer be CEO or shareholder of the Club. Five years ago, we had a vision to transform the Marlins franchise, and in As CEO, I was 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, reshaped the workforce and developed a long-term strategic plan for success.
That said, the vision for the franchise’s future is different from the one I’ve signed up to lead. It’s a good time for me to retire as a new season begins.
My family and I want to thank our amazing staff, Marlins fans, Marlins players and the great Miami community for welcoming us with open arms and making us feel like home. The organization is stronger today than it was five years ago, and I am grateful and thankful to have been part of this team.
Marlins President and Principal Owner Bruce Sherman released his own statement on the relationship breakdown:
“The Miami Marlins and Derek Jeter announced today that they have officially agreed to end their relationship. The Marlins thank Derek for his many contributions and wish him well in his future endeavours.
We have a wide array of talent who will oversee both business and baseball decisions as we work to identify a new CEO to lead our franchise. The ownership group is committed to continuing to invest in the future of the franchise – and we are determined to build a team that will return to the playoffs and excite Marlins fans and the local community.
Sherman and Jeter teamed up as potential buyers for the Marlins in 2017 and eventually outbid several other groups to buy the franchise from former owner Jeffrey Loria for a reported price of $1.2 billion. Most of this investment came from Sherman, although Jeter himself invested $25 million in the organization. Jeter then challenged that number, calling his turnout a bit larger. Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci reported in February 2018 that he was closer to $38 million in total.
The early stages of the Jeter and Sherman regime were historic for the Marlins, as the front office (then led by President of Baseball Operations Mike Hill) embarked on a dramatic overhaul of the roster and farm system that saw the former core of the Star Marlins shipped out of town. While the return of a possible NL MVP Christian Yelich was widely criticised, this sale also saw the Marlins acquire Sandy Alcantara and Zac Gallen (among others) for Marcell Ozuna. Gallen was then traded to D-backs for the current second baseman Jazz Chisholm. the Giancarlo Stanton/ The Yankees trade also took place that same winter, and a year later the Marlins traded JT Realmuto to the Phillies in a deal headlined by Sixto Sanchez.
The Marlins parted ways with Hill after the 2020 season, and Jeter was instrumental in bringing Kim Ng on board as the first-ever female general manager of sport. The team’s first full offseason under Ng has been relatively quiet, but she and the Marlins have been aggressive so far in the 2021-22 offseason, signing Avisail Garcia (four years, $53 million), acquiring the two Jacob Stallings and Joey Wendleand signing both Alcantara (five years, $56 million) and shortstop/clubhouse leader Miguel Rojas (two years, $10M) to extend the contracts.
Even with this streak of trades, however, the Marlins should only have a payroll of $68.9 million, by Jason Martinez of Roster Resource. They’re still expected to chase an extra bat when the offseason lockdown and accompanying trading freeze is lifted, but it’s safe to say the Fish will remain near the bottom of the league in terms of overall payroll. It’s unclear if Jeter’s departure is tied to the team’s payroll expectations, but it seems clear that some rift has formed between Jeter and Sherman.
Reporting by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic that Jeter’s contract was due to expire later this year but was not set to end immediately. Presumably, any potential talks about a new contract would have included talks about the organization’s long-term vision, and it seems (from Jeter’s own words) that he and Sherman are no longer aligned.
Whether the reasons for Jeter’s departure ultimately become clear or not, he will leave a lasting mark on the organization. The handling of some early personnel changes (for example, the Marlins’ firing of advisers Jeff Conine, Andre Dawson, and Jack McKeon) was not without controversy, and the Marlins drew widespread criticism after the Sherman/ Jeter immediately reduced the payroll with trades from Yelich. , Stanton, Ozuna and Dee Gordon.
Five years later, however, it’s hard to say the Marlins aren’t in a better position. The core positional players on this roster aren’t quite as strong, but the Marlins now have one of the best farm systems in MLB and perhaps the most comprehensive pitching collection a team can. to offer. The long-term payroll has more flexibility — whether it’s used or not is another matter — and the Marlins are more generally seen as a team on the rise. Surely it’s not due to Jeter alone, but beyond his hiring of Ng, Jeter also played a significant role in bringing in VP of Player Scouting/Development Gary Denbo and Assistant General Manager Dan Greenlee from the Yankees. Greenlee helped set up a lacking analytics department, and although Denbo itself has sometimes been a source of controversy, the improved farming system is a testament to its own work.
Time will tell if any additional departures are imminent, and it’s unclear what might be next for Jeter. The Hall of Famer, however, hasn’t indicated that he plans to step away from baseball altogether, so it’s certainly plausible that he will eventually take on a new challenge with another club.
SportsGrid’s Craig Mish first broke the news shortly before Jeter released his statement (Twitter link).