Reimer: Great to see Derek Jeter's tenure with Marlins off to rocky start

Alex Reimer
November 30, 2017 - 1:16 pm

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Derek Jeter was largely exempt from criticism during his heralded Yankees career. He was lauded as the consummate selfless teammate, even when strong evidence suggested otherwise. In his final season, Jeter hit .235 in the second half –– and his defense was even worse. Yet, he batted second and played shortstop virtually every day. 

Hell, the Red Sox even sold Jeter’s jersey in their official team store and serenaded him with song from a fake Aretha Franklin on the last weekend of the season. 

That’s why it’s so enjoyable to see Jeter face some backlash.

El Capitan’s tenure as Marlins CEO began with a strange picture taken on his first day with the team, which featured Jeter sitting in front of two giant iPads. 

The mockery soon turned to scorn, when it was reported Jeter fired franchise icons Jeff Conine, Andre Dawson, Jack McKeon and Tony Perez from their front office roles. Even worse, he reportedly asked former team president David Samson to perform the deed. 

Curiously, Fox Sports Florida also recently parted ways with Conine and commentators Preston Wilson and Rick Waltz. 

Only somebody with incredible hubris would cut ties with the few recognizable players in franchise history during the first days of his regime. But Jeter probably doesn't believe he must work to ingratiate himself with the Marlins fanbase –– no matter how small it may be. He’s Derek Jeter, captain of the Yankees and five-time World Series champion. If anything, Marlins fan(s) should be working to impress him. Not the other way around.

But Jeter apparently heard the criticism. Days later, he reportedly reached out to all four men in an effort to make amends. He also offered Conine, Dawson and Perez the opportunity to come back.

Except, they were being offered reduced roles with much less pay. According to reports, all four advisors made $100,000 annually. Jeter was offering them $25,000

Conine turned Jeter down. “To say I’m disappointed, that I won’t have a role in this organization, yeah, I’m disappointed,” Conine said last month, per Hardball Talk.

It’s understandable that Jeter wants to put his own people in charge. Conine, Perez and Dawson all worked as special assistants to Samson, who’s no longer with the organization. McKeon was an assistant to ex-owner Jeffrey Loria. But it didn’t appear as if any of those four were involved in baseball or business operations to any large extent. They were ambassadors to the community.  

Why not keep them for their knowledge of the organization’s history and relationship with the fans? It seems as if Jeter doesn’t want any outsiders’ input. 

For all of his success on the field, Jeter is a novice decision-maker. He’s being tested immediately, too, with the Giancarlo Stanton saga. The slugger is owed potentially $310 million through 2028, and Jeter would love to shed some payroll. “There are some financial things we have to get in order,” Jeter said recently, per Bloomberg. “It’s an organization that’s been losing money for quite some time, so we have to turn that around.” (A slightly dubious claim, considering the Marlins were the most profitable team in baseball in 2010.)

Plus, Stanton is the premier power bat in baseball. He’s the Marlins’ most valuable trade chip. But his no-trade clause complicates that. It puts the power back in Stanton’s hands.

With that in mind, Jeter reportedly delivered an ultimatum to Stanton: accept a trade, or we will trade all of your teammates. Jeter is making it apparent that trimming payroll is his first priority. That is quite the rallying cry.

It’s possible that all of Jeter’s strong-arming will transform the Marlins organization into a top-tier operation. As the Astros demonstrated, you should stick with a plan if you believe in it, no matter how much outcry it produces. 

But fortunately for the Astros, they qualified for the postseason four years after tanking. Two years after that, they won the World Series. 

Jeter is already cutting into his goodwill before the calendar even turns to December. For once, his World Series rings and postseason heroics aren't helping matters. 

Comments ()