As more information about owner Jeffrey Loria’s efforts to sell the team surfaced, and as soon as a great Yankee’s name was involved, it might have seemed obvious things would head in that direction.
Loria loves his Yankees, and that hasn’t ever been a secret. This is just the latest example. Hiring Don Mattingly to end Miami’s managerial carousel was among the first.
Reports Tuesday revealed a group led by star Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and Jeb Bush have been informed they won the bidding, meaning the group could take over in the near future. This is the best case scenario for the Marlins. Jeter is precisely what Miami needs.
Before we get too far ahead, owners still have to approve the sale and it has to be reviewed by Major League Baseball. Why wouldn’t the sport itself want one of its stars in a front office? This should get approved, but it’s worth noting there’s a chance it won’t.
Everything wrong with the Marlins in recent seasons has been related to fire sales, quick reactions, inconsistencies and a glaring lack of communication. Loria didn’t have patience after spending big entering 2012, so he decided to trade the veterans he had signed months prior. Some would have recommended allowing things to play out for a bit longer.
The Marlins have struggled to retain managers, partly because a few losing seasons would guarantee a respected man’s exit, and partly because some were too fed up with Loria’s involvement. To his credit, he reportedly became less involved in executive baseball decisions the last few seasons, but the discussions were being had.
Enter Derek Jeter, the epitome of consistency. He was not named to All-Star team just six times in his career, which he spent the entirety of with the Yankees. You hear players and coaches publicly praise The Captain, celebrating his leadership efforts and career accomplishments. Clubhouse culture has become a buzz word in Miami and hasn’t seemingly been an issue under Mattingly, but there is value to additional reinforcement.
It’s unlikely Jeter steps in and adopts an entirely behind-the-scenes role. He won’t step over president of baseball operations Michael Hill, but his voice will be heard, as it should be. He can add the kind of insight even players on the roster should request.
Essentially, the Marlins need a stable leader like Jeter to make baseball in Miami popular. People don’t talk about baseball in Miami the way residents of other cities do. But perhaps selling the team to Jeter and Co. inspires those who oddly identify with the Marlins and Yankees enough to increase crowd sizes after the sale.
On the surface, there isn’t a downside to Jeter owning part of the team.
Sure, there will be those who don’t attend because of Bush’s political affiliations. Those who don’t care enough will find reasons not to go. But Jeter’s presence won’t be among them. He’s too well-liked in seemingly every baseball circle.