Last night, new Marlins owner/CEO Derek Jeter was spotted in the crowd at Hard Rock Stadium for the Dolphins-Patriots game. While no booing could be heard when he came on screen like at the American Airlines Arena a few weeks ago, he looked less than relaxed.
Almost instantly, the internet blew up with yet more criticism for the rookie executive, with many believing that he should be answering for his recent controversial actions, primarily trading NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton to his former team for what many perceive as ‘scraps’, at the Winter Meetings in Orlando. Instead, Jeter spoke to reporters via a conference call yesterday, and it was GM/President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill who was being mobbed by reporters in Central Florida.
Which is completely fine.
Generally, owners do not attend the Winter Meetings, so why should expectations be different for Jeter? He answered questions over the phone while staying in South Florida, which was a fair compromise and more than he needed to do. While it is debatable how much Jeter is involved with the Baseball Operations department, Hill is the figurehead when it comes to player personnel, and it is his responsibility to answer questions regarding any trades or signings. If Jeter wants to attend a football game to try and relax, he is completely entitled to. Heck, he has earned it considering how much stick he has been getting from seemingly everyone thus far.
First of all, let’s talk facts: the new owners have inherited a team, already deep in the red, that was facing a quickly escalating payroll while bleeding money year-in year-out. Not to mention the current team, while talented, couldn’t post a .500 record in 2017, making it eight years since the Marlins have had a winning season.
Things needed to change, and the new owners, regardless of whether they had enough money to buy the team in the first place, had to cut payroll and begin to clear some of the debt. That starts with the most expensive players, so Stanton and Dee Gordon had to go to try and repair this team financially. The return for Stanton has been highly criticized, but the Marlins and Jeter had little-to-no leverage in the situation. Additionally, any trade involving Starlin Castro moving forward will help to improve the outlook of the deal, so final judgement must be held for now. The way Jeter handled the situation has also been scrutinized, but there was always going to be a few growing pains while he adjusted to the new position and learned the tricks of the trade.
Everybody has been extremely quick to judge Derek Jeter and the new Marlins, probably because they expected things to be completely different right away once Jeffrey Loria left the building. However, it will take a while to clean up the mess Loria left, and Jeter needs to be given the benefit of the doubt while the organization is rebuilt properly.
To those being overly critical of Derek Jeter just two months after he assumed control: come back with an opinion of his moves in 2020. By that time, he will probably have proved you so very wrong.