Derek Jeter is very meticulously and piece-by-piece saving the Miami Marlins.
Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter took over the Miami Marlins after the 2017 season from previous owner Jeff Loria. At the time, many hailed it as just what the franchise needed to get on the right track after eight consecutive losing seasons. The blush very quickly, however, was off the rose.
Soon after taking over, Jeter was publicly and prolongedly raked over the proverbial coals for trading away “the core” of the team. Within three months of taking over, he had already traded away 2017 National League Most Valuable Player Giancarlo Stanton, then-future NL MVP Christian Yelich, former Gold Glove outfielder Marcell Ozuna, and 2016 batting and stolen base champ Dee Gordon.
Ben Lindbergh over at The Ringer was forthright in his condemnation of the incoming group.
"In the months since Sherman officially succeeded reviled outgoing owner Jeffrey Loria, the Marlins—already a franchise known for fire sales—have one-upped both themselves and almost a century and a half of history, trading more WAR from the preceding season than any other team ever has in one winter."
"The front office plan for the 2018 Miami Marlins is the same one Rachel Phelps had for the Indians in Major League, except this club is already located in Miami. But put together a team bad enough to finish in last place? Hard to argue that isn’t the plan here."
Preceding the 2019 campaign, they traded another centerpiece of the Marlins, all-world catcher J.T. Realmuto. They got a lot more in return, in the form of starting catcher Jorge Alfaro, top prospect Sixto Sanchez, and Will Stewart, but many still weren’t satisfied.
Even supposed experts at our very mothership at FanSided.com were critical. Jason Cole went on record blaming Jeter for everything early in the 2019 season:
"While there have been plenty of bad teams in the history of baseball, this Marlins team is special in one regard. Jeter, a man who undoubtedly will be elected to the Hall of Fame next year when he’s first eligible and who personified class on the field during his career with the New York Yankees, killed this team."
Since then, however, the plan has started to come into a lot more focus. The farm system, a barren wasteland that ranked last on many “experts” lists after the 2017 season, is now considered by many amongst the best in the majors.
To wit, twelve of the Marlins top 30 prospects, according to the MLB Pipeline, have been acquired by the new ownership group through trades over the last two seasons, including recent additions Diowill Burgos and Sterling Sharp.
That’s not even to mention the acquisition of former top 30 prospects Lewis Brinson, Magneuris Sierra, Isan Diaz, Sandy Alcantara, Zac Gallen, Robert Dugger, and Jordan Yamamoto and the trading away of minor leaguer Mike King for both Caleb Smith and Garrett Cooper.
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Shrewd management of the international free agency signing program and solid scouting in both the annual amateur draft and the rule 5 draft each December have resulted in an unusually robust group of prospects from top to bottom.
Jeter and Sherman’s endgame was never the systematic gutting of the parent club, but the acquisition of multiple World Series Championships. The second step of that, after clearing out all the expensive contracts, was the retooling of the formerly bare cupboard. Now fully stocked, it’s time to start raiding the pantry. Step three, world domination.
Agree? Disagree? Please let me know in the comments below or on our Twitter page, and thanks for reading.