This week Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred defended the actions being taken by Derek Jeter and the ownership group that just bought the Miami Marlins. Manfred said Jeter and the group have a long-term commitment to winning.
Manfred, during a tense interview, said that MLB did not have any player specific plans that the new ownership had given them, which is slashing payroll and trading away the biggest stars on the team including National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon and Marcell Ozuna.
Manfred told his interviewer that MLB does not get involved with decisions at the operating level in the process of ownership approval. Clubs, added Manfred make those decisions.
The Marlins or any other MLB team have not given player specific plans to the commissioner office, said Manfred. He added that those are decisions that owners of each team make and they are not required to be cleared or approved by the league.
Jeter faced several angry questions from close to 200 holders of season tickets on Tuesday during a 90-minute town hall type meeting.
Asked if the Marlins had received enough in return in the trade for Stanton, Jeter said they were given relief of $265 million that would give them flexibility to do what they need to.
Gordon, now with Seattle, does not see it the same way as Jeter. He said he did not ask for this. He called it terrible and even embarrassing. He did not want to bash any one person but said it was not good.
Gordon said the team has traded away its three top players and not due to underperformance but due to something you are not able to take care of.
MLB Wants Commitment to Win
Manfred reiterated that during the ownership approval process the league received assurances that this ownership group was committed to winning baseball in Miami over the long term, and that is what the league looks for when approving new owners.
However, he added the league does not discuss if the team is going to trade a particular player at a particular time nor does it ask that commitments are made to specific players.
Manfred spoke about the cyclical nature of baseball. In 2013, the five teams with the top five picks in the draft in reverse order Cleveland, Minnesota, Colorado, Chicago Cubs and Houston, were all in this past season’s playoffs, while the teams that participated in the World Series in 2012 – Giants and Tigers – have the two top picks in the draft this year.
Houston, which won its first ever World Series, had three straight seasons between 2011 and 2013 when they lost over 100 games each season.
Manfred added that the strategy apparently taken by the Marlins is one focused on long term success, but it is not to say there will not be some pain along the way. If you use Houston as an example, you would assume there was quite a bit of pain for three seasons that add up to over 320 losses.
However, the Astros process finally paid off and produced a World Series champion and makes it easier for all those that endured the triple digit losses for three straight seasons.
What do you think, should Marlins fans be upset? Can Jeter turn the Marlins into winners?