After plenty of criticism, the blueprint designed by Marlins CEO Derek Jeter is one all MLB teams should follow in the future.
Kevin Kraczkowski of Marlin Maniac wrote about how the Marlins minor league system is now one of the best in baseball. He pointed out how just a year ago, fans wanted to run CEO Derek Jeter out of town for the decisions he made involving traded players and a change in direction in the organization.
Now, those same people might be the ones praising him the most.
No one said running a Major League Baseball team is easy, especially when you have no experience other than the days when you put on a Yankees uniform and were hailed as one of the greatest to ever play the game. The Marlins being sold to Jeter was considered a “rockstar“ move -one that would bring the love of the game back to South Florida.
And as I’ve talked about many times, I was one of the ones who wanted to run him right out of the city as soon as he started making changes to a potent lineup.
Then again, I’m just a writer who loves the game for its purity and did not want to see the Marlins break up what I thought was a good thing.
As we have talked about several times the past two seasons, the Marlins wanted to follow a blueprint that rivaled the Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros. While those four major league organizations have tasted success and the postseason, Miami is still waiting for its opportunity. But looking at how this organization is being run on paper, the road to the playoffs is a little closer than we might think.
Miami is once again in the market of selling players at the MLB trade deadline. It comes with the territory of perennial losing and a lack of organization. Jeter and president of baseball operations Michael Hill are creating an environment that will produce a winning culture in the near future. They are not a team with a large payroll, and cannot afford to spend the way the Yankees or the Red Sox or even the Dodgers have done in recent years.
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What they can do is build from the bottom up and solidify a foundation that right now looks like it will contend by 2021.
Kraczkowski already outlined the players the Marlins have “hit on”. And like him, I have witnessed a lowly minor-league system with players that you couldn’t give away for other prospects. Now as I sit in Jacksonville and watch the AA affiliate on a consistent basis, I see the future which looks very bright. Jordan Yamamoto made the leap to the major leagues.
Pablo Lopez started off in Jacksonville last year and should be a fixture in the rotation for years to come, as long as he’s healthy. Monte Harrison looks like a player who will be a top of the order threat on the base pads, but can also swing a stick and reach the fences. After the season in Jacksonville last year where he struck out over 200 times, he has become a more complete player in New Orleans. These are the things that Marlins hoped for and while they’re creating a blueprint on the major-league level that rivals the teams I mentioned before.
Why is it we are not talking about this franchise as the one teams in the future should build behind?
We all know that Jeffery Loria left this team in shambles, While the front office made deals that were way out of a small-market team’s comfort zone, there are now cornerstone players like Caleb Smith and Jorge Alfaro to build around. There are feel-good stories like Garrett Cooper. And when you look at the starting rotation, you see younger arms that will resemble the 1990s Atlanta Braves and the 1979 Baltimore orioles.
Jeter‘s ball club may not be winning now, but the Marlins are winning their rebuilding effort.
While Miami is destined for another 90-loss season, I think it’s honestly safe to say that should not be the case next season or in years to come.