With the game between the Miami Marlins and New York Mets postponed due to inclement weather, the question can be asked – is the blueprint working?
You know by now that I was an outspoken fan when Derek Jeter took over the Miami Marlins and dismantled then in less time than it took for the former New York Yankees icon to purchase the struggling franchise.
Granted, the Marlins had stars on their roster who were enjoying individual success, but as a franchise, it was safe to say it had become one of the most disappointing sports teams in any league. To watch night after night the likes of Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and the late Jose Fernandez put out maximum effort with little return in the win column – it was as depressing as the grades from my final year in college.
Nothing went right, the organization had been run into the ground and was bleeding money. Ownership resembled the Cleveland Indians in the movie Major League. A miracle was needed and is still needed today if the Marlins we hope for in two or three years are to emerge from the depth of an abyss the new team CEO has created.
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A want to believe in these Marlins. I thought this spring was supposed to lead to something. Once again, and I don’t admit this very often, I was wrong. But so were others who drank the Kool-Aid as well.
Jason Cole, the Editor in Chief of FanSided.com, wrote a piece this week asking if Jeter, for all his heroism while wearing Yankees pinstripes, has created the worst team record-wise in baseball history?
That’s a hard pill to swallow given the decades of baseball awfulness, but as Cole succinctly pointed out, there are numbers to back up the claim. There is also a growing sentiment of those who cover the Marlins on a daily basis national, that it might get even worse before it gets better. While I ask for mediocrity in a time like this, just reaching 60 wins might be a stretch.
The long, hot summer days in Miami will seem even longer as there is no adequate lineup that can sustain a comeback like those Indians of move fame.
"“As the Miami Marlins exited Chicago with a 10-27 record on Thursday, they continued on a course of potentially historic futility,” Cole writes. “The Marlins are on pace to win 44 games. Since 1961, when Major League Baseball adopted the 162-game schedule, only three teams have won fewer than 50 games in a non-strike season.”"
There is another way to look at this team, the one with 10 wins to “celebrate” and a day of rest from the rain in New York City. The minor league system has been revamped from one of the worst in baseball to one on the rise. The pitchers acquired in those deals that sent Stanton, Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and J.T. Realmuto are going to be really good. The deal Jeter doesn’t get enough credit for – obtaining Caleb Smith and Garrett Cooper (if he can stay healthy) might be the best move he has made in the past 19 months.
Major League teams cannot win by pitching alone. It seems as though Jeter, president of baseball operations Michael Hill and the front office are trying to change the narrative.
Have pitching, will travel, and we pray the opponents forgot to bring their bats with them.
Jeter took on a franchise that needed an overhaul in every facet of the organization. He aligned himself with figureheads who knew a thing or two about the game and had built a winner – mainly within the Yankees organization. The approach of building a team in their likeness was a chance Jeter, et al had to take.
So far, he is failing worse than we expected. Fans are growing weary – like never before – and the goodwill he was hoping to garner from the South Florida community has evaporated.
It’s a sad state and while there’s no crying in baseball, I feel my chin starting to quiver.
"“Jeter is the CEO and owns a four percent stake in the team. Despite that impressive title and share of the team, Jeter didn’t just kill the Marlins, he eviscerated this team,” Cole adds.“The Marlins not only have no present, their future looks awful as well. Jeter not only sent away four excellent-to-great players, he got almost nothing back for them.”"
Has Jeter become the Ted Stepien of baseball? It looks that way.
If you want to put a positive spin on this, then here’s the faintest of opportunities. The season isn’t over yet. There are 114 games left. The Marlins have plenty of young talent to develop – heck there have already been 10 outfielders on the roster this season. The rotation is young and WILL BE good. Smith would be a Cy Young contender on another ballclub.
I can’t seem to get my head around the notion of losing more than 100 games, but the Marlins are on that pace. It’s a season we all want to forget. I’m sure Jeter will take some of the pressure off himself by placing blame on others – he’s done that pretty well.
For now, these are the Marlins I write about and root for. I’d like to say I am still hopeful of a turnaround. Being proven wrong would be OK in my book. Sometimes, being wrong is easier than admitting you were right.
I don’t think that’s the case here. These Marlins are bad. How bad they become is a question the remainder of the 2019 MLB season and Jeter will have to answer.