Prior to Friday’s game against the Nationals, Marlins CEO Derek Jeter and president of baseball operations Michael Hill officially announced Don Mattingly’s two-year contract extension with a third-year mutual option to remain as manager. His original deal was set to expire this offseason. Shortstop Miguel Rojas has also agreed to a two-year deal with a third-year vesting option, buying out at least one potential free agent year.
The stream of the press conference is available here.
Press releases regarding both Mattingly and Rojas are below:
Mattingly was originally hired to manage by previous Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria four years ago. Despite the change in leadership, he spoke about continuing his original mission to elevate the reputation of the franchise.
Jeter praised the intangibles that his longtime friend brings to the table:
Marlins CEO Derek Jeter on Don Mattingly “I think about his leadership, demeanor and overall character.....He’s all in. He keeps our guys competing on a daily basis.”— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) September 20, 2019
Overlooked by talent evaluators for much of his professional career, Rojas expressed sincere gratitude about arriving at this payday. Beyond the stats, Jeter justified the commitment by noting how the 30-year-old serves as “an extension of the manager” on and off the field.
Miguel Rojas reflects on the journey: "I never was a big prospect...I always had to work hard for what I accomplished in my career...The goals keep growing."— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) September 20, 2019
Overcome with emotion, Miggy Ro identified fellow Venezuelans Omar Vizquel, Marco Scutaro and Martín Prado as inspirations to him, as well as Jeter himself. This new deal guarantees him $10.25 million, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports, nearly tripling his career earnings. If the 2022 option vests, he’ll collect $15 million in total, Heyman adds.
ZiPS projections from FanGraphs foresee slight regression for Rojas at the plate moving forward, yet even that would make this an efficient move from the club’s perspective.
After Mattingly and Rojas left the podium, Jeter dodged questions about the Marlins’ 2020 payroll and what specific personnel changes should be expected after a disappointing campaign. However, he was more direct about the urgency to attract larger crowds to the ballpark (9,753 average attendance per game this season ranks dead last in MLB).