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Derek Jeter, Miami Marlins end relationship

Jeter had served as Marlins CEO since the end of the 2017 season.

Derek Jeter CEO of the Miami Marlins speaks to the media to announce loanDepot as the exclusive naming rights partner for loanDepot Park formerly known as Marlins Park Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Derek Jeter and the Marlins mutually parted ways on Monday morning. Craig Mish of SportsGrid broke the news first.

Jeter released this brief statement about relinquishing his duties as chief executive officer and selling his ownership stake:

“Today I am announcing that the Miami Marlins and I are officially ending our relationship and I will no longer serve as CEO nor as a shareholder in the Club. We had a vision five years ago to turn the Marlins franchise around, and as CEO, I have been 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, reshaping the workforce, and developing a long-term strategic plan for success.

“That said, the vision for the future of the franchise is different than the one I signed up to lead. Now is the right time for me to step aside as a new season begins.

“My family and I would like to thank our incredible staff, Marlins fans, Marlins players, and the greater Miami community for welcoming us with open arms and making us feel at home. The organization is stronger today than it was five years ago, and I am thankful and grateful to have been a part of this team.”

This one’s from Marlins principal owner Bruce Sherman, who teamed up with Jeter to purchase the franchise from Jeffrey Loria for $1.2 billion in 2017:

“The Miami Marlins and Derek Jeter announced today that they have agreed to officially end their relationship. The Marlins thank Derek for his many contributions and wish him luck in his future endeavors.

We have a deep bench of talent that will oversee both business and baseball decisions while we work to identify a new CEO to lead our franchise. The ownership group is committed to keep investing in the future of the franchise—and we are determined to build a team that will return to the postseason and excite Marlins fans and the local community.”

And lastly, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred:

“On behalf of Major League Baseball, I thank Derek for his service to the Marlins, the communities of Miami and the game. Derek is a winner on and off the field. In addition to his valuable contributions as a front office executive, Derek was a highly respected voice on our Diversity and Competition Committees. He helped build a talented front office with the Marlins, including moving the game forward by hiring women in top roles in the Club’s baseball operations and executive leadership, and a foundation that has positioned the Marlins for long-term success. Derek is a pillar of our game and we look forward to his future contributions to Baseball.”

According to Peter Gammons of The Athletic, the Marlins baseball operations staff received the news from Sherman via Zoom only minutes before the rest of us. Gammons adds that there is a “strong feeling” general manager Kim Ng will take on added responsibilities, with Mish corroborating that she is now the Marlins’ “key decision-maker.”

Under Jeter’s watch, the Marlins snapped their 17-year postseason drought in 2020. However, their overall .400 winning percentage (218-327 record) at the major league level was among the worst in the sport.

Throughout his four-and-a-half year tenure, Jeter preached “patience” and insisted that his competitive nature would not allow him to accept perpetual mediocrity. He leaves at a fascinating time—the Marlins were raising internal expectations entering 2022 now that many of the key prospects he acquired early in the rebuild have reached major league readiness. Is Jeter jumping ship because the rest of the ownership group isn’t willing to invest what it takes to fill out a World Series-caliber roster and take advantage of this window? Or did Sherman push him out due to poor results on the business side?

ESPN’s Buster Olney reports on a more specific point of contention between them:

There are conflicting accounts from Mish and Joel Sherman of the New York Post (no relation to Bruce) regarding the Marlins’ willingness to continue adding to their 2022 payroll after the lockout. That was “central to Jeter’s (decision) to leave as CEO,” Joel Sherman tweets. They’re currently projected for approximately $66 million in player contracts. That total could tick up another couple million once the new collective bargaining agreement is implemented and increases compensation for pre-arbitration-eligible players. That applies to every MLB team, though.

In an interview with Chris Rose on Jomboy Media’s “Baseball Today” show, Miguel Rojas expressed complete surprise about Jeter’s departure. Being on opposing sides of the lockout, they haven’t been in direct contact with each other over the last three months. Rojas says they exchanged text messages soon after the news broke.

A key question moving forward: Who else follows Jeter out the door? Ng is sticking around, but dozens of other Marlins employees were also recruited to Miami by the Hall of Fame shortstop, coming over directly from the New York Yankees in most cases. This group spans several departments, from vice president of player development and scouting Gary Denbo to senior vice president of communications and outreach Jason Latimer.