Derek Jeter isn’t waiting around to make his mark on the Miami Marlins. According to a Miami Herald report, the prospective Marlins owner is cleaning house before officially taking the reins, ordering the firings of at least four well-respected member of the Marlins organization.
According to the report, those being let go will include Baseball Hall of Famers Andre Dawson and Tony Perez, former manager Jack McKeon, who led them to the World Series championship is 2003, and Jeff Conine, an original Marlin who earned the nickname Mr. Marlin during his career.
All four men have been serving as special assistants to Marlins president David Samson or out-going owner Jeffrey Loria. The decision makes it clear that Jeter and his group intend to take the Marlins in an entirely different direction with people they hand-select and trust.
The decision won’t be popular in Miami given the status of the men involved. Miami isn’t exactly known as a baseball town, but it holds a special place for those who have helped put the Marlins on the map. The report has shocked the baseball world outside of Miami too, perhaps more so for the manner in which the reported firings are being carried out.
And here’s the twist: Jeter asked Marlins president David Samson to fire those four Marlins luminaries for him, because Jeter didn’t want to do it.
Even more strange: Jeter made the request after telling Samson what he already knew: that Samson would not be returning as team president.
If that’s entirely true, it won’t reflect well on Jeter at all. We understand he’s on the other side of a business that is often ruthless, which will lead us to seeing a side of him we never did as a player. But this is one order of the business Jeter easily could have handled on his own.
Even if fans didn’t agree with his decision, being up front would have set an entirely different tone for the franchise than how it was run under Loria. Instead, this comes across as a little too close to Loria-like.
“Sure I’m sad,” McKeon told the Miami Herald after being informed of Jeter’s decision. “No question you’re sad. I’m disappointed, but you understand. A new regime is coming in and they want their new people in there. You can’t fault them with that.”
Changes were definitely expected, and more will undoubtedly come in the weeks ahead. Cleaning house and essentially starting over is often the norm when new ownership takes over. But we also highly doubt any of these men had enough real pull to be blamed for the team’s past failures, or to think they’re owed an expanded role under Jeter’s regime.
Was it necessary to let them go? Probably not.
Did it have to happen like this? Absolutely not.
But this will be Jeter’s team soon enough, and for better or worse it appears he’s comfortable with this being his initial stamp on the organization.
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