Derek Jeter is the new owner of the Miami Marlins, and it looks like more major changes could be coming to the organisation.
Jeter and his ownership group, backed by billionaire Bruce Sherman, just finalised a $US1.2 billion deal to buy the Marlins from Jeffrey Loria, according to Tim Healey of the Sun Sentinel. After spending two decades playing for the New York Yankees, the future Hall of Famer will finally get a chance to build his own MLB club.
Jeter, who was given some control over personnel decisions in the weeks leading up to the sale, has already made his mark on the Marlins, firing a number of figures who came to define the organisation during the Loria era. Team president David Samson was dismissed, as were four special assistants to the front office: Hall of Famers Andre Dawson and Tony Perez, longtime first baseman Jeff Conine (known as “Mr. Marlin”), and former manager Jack McKeon, who piloted the team to its most recent World Series title in 2003.
But Jeter will face his toughest dilemma yet when he decides the fate of the best player on his roster: four-time All-Star Giancarlo Stanton.
Stanton is an imposing right fielder who agreed to a 13-year, $US325 million deal with the Marlins after the 2014 season, still the largest in the history of sports. He gave them a big return on their investment this season, leading the league with 59 home runs and 132 RBI, numbers that any owner would love to have on their roster.
But there are other reasons why Jeter might be tempted to send his franchise player packing. The struggling Marlins are expected to lose money for the next few years, and given the bad reputation Loria and Samson earned during their time in South Beach, a clean break from the old regime — and its contracts — could be the most savvy business move. In September, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported that Jeter could trim as much as $US60 million from the payroll, effectively tearing down a roster that won 77 games this season.
Stanton, for his part, wants nothing to do with that plan, especially given the Marlins’ subpar track record over the past decade. They haven’t had a winning season since he made his debut.
“I don’t want to rebuild … I’ve lost for seven years,” he told Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.
While Stanton’s massive deal would make him difficult to trade, there have been rumours from around the league. In August, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that the Giants, Cardinals, Rangers, and Phillies were the teams with the most interest.
Stanton can opt out of his contract after the 2020 season, so he’s still under team control for a bare minimum of three more seasons. Jeter has time to plan his next move. But if the new ownership is as serious about building its own franchise as it seems to be, Stanton will be on his way out sooner or later.
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