Ever since Derek Jeter was a part of the group that purchased the Miami Marlins from then-owner Jeffrey Loria in 2017, the team has absolutely tanked and gone downhill, much to the dismay of Marlins fans (if there are any). Being installed as the team CEO was an interesting way to push his way into the conversation, besides the money he put forth for the team, and the results that have occurred under Jeter have been anything but promising.
One of the New York Yankees members of their front office, Gary Denbo, was brought on by Jeter to help oversee a facet of the front office, as he currently holds the role of vice president of player development and scouting. It seems as though Denbo has an agenda to push more than a team to run, which is exactly what is fueling the team’s demise.
An easy way to understand that Denbo is not a good guy fit to run a team? After making a surprise trip down to the Marlins’ Low-A affiliate, the Greensboro Grasshoppers, Denbo wanted nothing to do with the two dog houses that are mainstays in the clubhouse, due to the fact that this franchise has a storied history of having dogs fetch bats, bring balls to umpires and even running bases like the kids do after a Sunday matinee game. He went so far as to require that they be taken out and even ripped into a clubhouse attendant in the process, according to a Ken Rosenthal piece for the Athletic.
Naturally, anyone that does not have an allergic reaction to a dog is deemed as a bad person, but Denbo seems to be on a different standard when it comes to the type of person that he is. His personality seems to be just a beaming one, running rampant with smiles and friendly greetings every time he enters the room.
What the Marlins used to be was fun, a team that was stacked to the brim full of potential superstars, current All-Stars, solid depth and a good enough farm system to interest the state of Florida in what the sport of baseball looks like. Hell, even with their new park, name change, and color palette revival, fans still thoroughly enjoyed coming to games.
But once Jeter and his majority group took over the team, no one was safe, as is evident with what the team currently looks like. Having shipped out Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, J.T. Realmuto, Chris Paddock, Domingo German, and Luis Castillo, just to name a few, the team is in shambles, with no real pieces showing enough to be worthy to build around.
Having traded all of those players would normally mean some sort of good prospect package return, but none are really living up to their billing. When Paddock, German and Castillo were all traded, they were more as afterthoughts in deals and not even close to being the type of player that they are now, so it is hard to pin those on the Marlins.
However, Stanton was shipped to the New York Yankees, Yelich to the Milwaukee Brewers, Ozuna to the St. Louis Cardinals and Realmuto to the Philadelphia Phillies, and while there are some above average farm prospects dominating in the minors for this team, there are no solid pieces that jump off the page that make any of these deals absolutely worthwhile.
To put it into perspective, the Brewers top prospect at the time of the Yelich deal was center fielder Lewis Brinson, whom they acquired when they traded Jonathan Lucroy to the Texas Rangers. Brinson was the crown jewel for the Marlins to get back, but he never has found his offensive footing in Miami, struggling out of the gate and now currently resides in Triple-A yet again, hoping to find his swing and become a good enough player to make this trade seem a bit less lopsided.
Having traded two consecutive league MVPs in consecutive offseasons is remarkable, not because it happened, more because of the fact that even though they understood what talent they had on their franchise, they did not want to even sniff at contention and instead punted on the whole idea that they were only a few pieces away from maintaining a good record and fielding a competitive, playoff-ready squad.
The Marlins have become the laughing stock of the MLB, which has actually shown some light on the dire straits that baseball has to face in the state of Florida, which does not seem to appreciate how important baseball is to the U.S. Also not enjoying having a fun experience for fans if they, for some reason, decided to go to Marlins Park for a game, the statue that moved whenever a Marlins player hit a home run was removed as well, which had just gone up when the new stadium was constructed.
With no end in sight, the only out for this team is to get Jeter and his henchmen out of the front office, instill people who understand the focus and premise of baseball and help this team get back to what everyone wants them to be: relevant. Maybe not being a fan of this team, everyone can at least get behind the fact that this franchise deserves a much better hand they have currently have, even if most of their shortcomings are due to their own actions with poor hiring and vetting processes.
Needing to field a competitive team soon, this team needs a changing of the guard at the helm, even though they just had one with the selling of the team. While Loria may have understood that selling to Jeter made a ton of business sense and packed his pockets a bit better than other potential opportunities, Jeter was the wrong man for the teams sake in terms of running the team, being able to handle scouting and baseball operations, and overall just understanding the premises behind how important it is to field a competitive baseball team.
Just think how unstoppable and crazy the National League East would be if the Marlins were competitive? That whole division would be vying for the divisional crown, and there would be three teams, who all could be right at or above .500, who could miss the playoffs but be absolutely in the hunt until the end. Make your move Miami, correct your mishap from two years ago.