Things are going — not great — for Derek Jeter and the new ownership group of the Miami Marlins.
Right about now, fans of the Miami Marlins (I believe there are several hundred left at this point) have to be feeling a strange sense of yearning for the good ole days of owner Jeffrey Loria. Under CEO Derek Jeter, things have been as ugly as they ever were under Loria, but the latest development out of Miami takes the cake.
According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, Jeter and the Marlins made the very business-first decision to let go of a longtime scout named Marty Scott, who had been with the Marlins since 2011 in various roles. In a vacuum, that seems like no big deal. New owner, new people in key positions. Except, it’s not that simple with Scott. You see, he’s battling colon cancer, needs a kidney transplant because of his diabetes and was told his contract would not be renewed while he was in the hospital for surgery related to his cancer.
“Derek Jeter doesn’t owe me anything,” Scott told Yahoo Sports. “Probably in their hearts they did what they thought was right. I know based on certain aspects of the game, I probably was making too much money. But we all love the game. We’re all in it together. I just think 40 years was worth more than a spank on the butt and see you later.
“I’m very hurt. Forty years in baseball, I let a lot of people go. I never, ever fired somebody 10 days, 15 days before their contract was up. If I knew I was going to fire somebody, I did it at the beginning of September.”
Jeter has attempted to pawn the decision to let Scott go on team president Michael Hill, who is one of the holdovers from the Loria days. That’s all well and good, but if Jeter is the one making the final call, he has to do a better job considering the optics of firing a 40-year baseball lifer while he sits in the hospital recovering from major surgery. It’s been one pratfall after another for Jeter and the new ownership group. Shortly after riding into town on the back of a $1.2-billion purchase, the future Hall of Famer swept Marlins franchise icons Andre Dawson, Jeff Conine, Tony Perez, Jack McKeon and Jeff Conine (a.k.a. Mr. Marlin) out of their roles as special ambassadors for the club.
It’s just business as usual for the Florida National League MLB franchise, as they currently dangle franchise player Giancarlo Stanton and his massive contract on the trade market. It seems Jeter and the front office are willing to accept very little in return for their slugger so long as someone else pays him. If they can’t trade Stanton, who has a full no-trade clause, the Marlins will dismantle other parts of their roster. What’s more, they’re also seeking outside money to help finance the operation of the team.
The new group, with Jeter as the CEO and de factor managing partner, obviously had the money to close the deal and win the team, and MLB people have expressed that they are quite comfortable with the group’s major players and its financial situation. But, as it came so soon into the new ownership’s tenure, the offering did raise some eyebrows among those who received it, with some wondering about the group’s financial state – but, the belief for now is that the Marlins are merely looking to expand their current group and perhaps defray the outlay of some partners, who may feel a bit stretched to meet previous owner Jeffrey Loria’s asking price.
Here’s a thought, and I’ll keep it as brief as possible. Maybe, just maybe, if you can’t really afford it, don’t pay $1.2 billion to buy one of the most financially unstable professional sports teams in a bad market, with no history of winning, with a former player whose only real business experience comes from “running” an athlete’s puff-piece ghostwriting mill, with no solid TV deal, with superstar with a $325-million contract that everyone knew was a farce, no farm system and no fanbase whatsoever. My, oh my, what a mess.