After two seasons of building a baseball franchise, this is the season that Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter will look at his chessboard and see a winner
Don’t let the changes that have been made because of a shortened season and the threat brought on by COVID-19 fool you. This is a baseball organization and front office that has stuck to the plan and has come to a point where, even in a different situation, could and should be a contender this season with only 60 games on the slate in 2020.
"“There’s a mindset that I believe is starting to change here in the organization over the last couple of years,” Jeter said via MLB.com“You can’t accept mediocrity. We preach it over and over and over again. And this is something that is taught from Rookie ball on up. When you take the field, you’re taking the field with the mindset that that you’re going to win.”"
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Nothing the Marlins front office has done since the MLB league office shut down operation of all 30 clubs would make any Miami fan think this is a team waiting for next season or threw in the towel on trying to make progress in 2020.
And more than that, it has made writers and analysts like me believers in the process Jeter asked everyone to trust in so many times in 2018.
The Marlins aren’t playing in a new ballpark this season, but there are plenty of changes to Marlins park, with the outfield being brought in to help the team with the long ball and the surface being redone.
"“We’ve gotten rave reviews from our players on the turf,” Jeter said. “This turf is a lot different than the artificial surfaces that I’ve played on. When I was playing, I didn’t particularly like the artificial surfaces. But this is as close to grass as you can possibly get.”"
There is also a renewed commitment to the team’s fundamentals. That was ever-apparent when manager Don Mattingly brought in James Rowson as the bench coach of this roster. Rowson was instrumental in making the Minnesota Twins a playoff team and a powerhouse at the plate.
The hope is Rowson’s tutelage will rub off on the young and developing roster.
The Miami Marlins are still considered a team that is a year or two away from competing for an outside shot at the playoffs. Any success this season is playing with house money. With playoff expansion comes more hope. With a developing starting rotation comes the belief pitchers might be better than advertised.
The elements for success are at Mattingly’s feet. The roster is young and hungry. There is veteran balance. The front office made solid moves this offseason during Hot Stove and free agency. The minor league system is ranked as one of the best in MLB. Why wouldn’t you think this could be a special season in South Florida?