Hall of Fame shortstop Derek Jeter announced he’s stepping down as Miami Marlins CEO and minority owner on Monday. Jeter’s tenure lasted only four seasons, but it seems that he and majority owner Bruce Sherman’s vision for the future of the organization are no longer aligned.
What are the potential sources of a rift?
“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,” Jeter said in a statement.
In four full seasons the Marlins had an overall record of 218-327. Jeter played 20 seasons for the New York Yankees, won five World Series championships, and made the playoffs in 16 of his 20 seasons. This man is about winning, so his time at the helm in Miami had to be tough, but you know he believed he was building toward something.
When you’ve won as much as he has you know what it takes, and, more important, you believe you can help build it.
Being part of the Yankees organization, where winning is expected and no expense is spared in pursuit of excellence, is a gift and a curse. Jeter has no experience with an organization that won’t do whatever it takes to win. It’s not in his DNA.
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The Marlins notoriously are among the league’s bottom spenders in terms of payroll. They don’t do a lot of big -time break-the-bank free agent signings. But that was about to change heading into this season before the lockout, and it is part of the reason Jeter stepped down.
According to the New York Post, Jeter went into the lockout believing Sherman approved ann additional $10 million to $15 million in payroll spending. Sherman went back on his word, and Jeter took it personally. Not only breaking a promise ,but a move that would actively hurt the team’s chances to win. Something Jeter could not deal with any longer.
It has also been reported that Jeter sought an increase in his 4 percent minority stake and wasn’t able to come to an agreement with Sherman on an increase. And that he and Sherman were at odds over Jeter’s depiction as the face of the franchise. Sherman, after all, is the main money man, and he likely felt that he should be getting more shine.
Sources also said vice president of player development and scouting Gary Denbo was a source of some of the conflict. Denbo was Jeter’s consigliere since the minors. It was unclear whether Denbo or general manager Kim Ng had the final authority on baseball suggestions to ownership.
The Marlins’ record during Jeter’s tenure speaks for itself. They didn’t win. There are lots of factors that contributed, but that’s the bottom line.
Jeter traded big money players like Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, J.T. Realmuto and Marcell Ozuna for more financial flexibility. The moves allowed for the development of Sandy Alcantara, Jazz Chisholm, Jesus Sanchez and Lewin Diaz. With the signing of Avisail Garcia and trading for Joey , it was assumed more wins were on the way.
But money, ego, and a lockout got in the way of it all. Who knows what Jeter will do next. If it’s another front office or potential ownership position he’ll be trying to prove that he can be the same elite winner he was as a player.
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