Derek Jeter: The Player vs. The Owner

Derek Jeter had always talked about being “the boss” going back to his playing days in major league baseball. Sure enough, that dream became a reality back In September when a group led by Jeter bought the Miami Marlins. Jeter, only owns four percent of the team but is the CEO and will oversee the day-to-day baseball operations.

What we once saw as the player that was Derek Jeter to the now owner Derek Jeter is vastly different. As a player, Jeter was role model not just for the New York Yankees, but for all of baseball. A well-respected figure in the game. Now that his playing days are over and he’s become “the boss”, he has transformed into a different person.

In some aspect, this is a business and sometimes the decisions are tough to make and Jeter and every other owner or general manager will tell you the same. However, the events that have transpired in the days since taking over the ownership in Miami, it has not been a pleasant one from the Jeter we all know and love.

Personnel decisions are always made when a new regime enters the picture but there is way to go about it. Jeter had instructed that employees put in place, by now former owner Jeffery Loria, to be let go from their positions. Jeter didn’t have the courage to do it himself, he made others do his dirty work. Of the people he let go, were Marlin fixtures such as Jack McKeon, the manager that brought a World Series championship in 2003, with the opposing team he beat had a guy named Jeter on it.

When addressing the that situation to the local newspapers, Jeter simply put it, “We made it clear that the former president [of the team] David Samson was not coming back. Those guys [Andre Dawson, Tony Perez and Jeff Conine] were special assistants to the president. So, when Samson was notified he wasn’t coming back, he was told to notify people who work for him. So, they were notified”.

Those comments were made before the official approval was made for Jeter and his group to take over the team. Then the approval came and he asked those “special assistants” to come in a talk and Jeter had said he wanted them with the team in some capacity, those people declined. Rightfully so because the way Jeter did it was not the right way to handle business. You don’t make a decision before you technically have the right to and then have someone else give the unfortunate news that they won’t be in the same positions when he takes over. At least handle it right by personally handling that and not someone else.

Next was the issue of wanting to get the payroll down so the group can recoup money in their pocket. We thought maybe, Jeter would have been molded by the late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, in which he always put his money into his team and never worried about a penny going into his pocket (he did have other businesses and the Yankees marketing was bigger than ever). He always invested in his team. Jeter is more on the mindset of having the lowest payroll to recoup then putting out a winning team despite his claims of wanting to build a successful franchise.

Part of his financial restructuring is getting rid of franchise player Giancarlo Stanton. That process has its steam and as of Sunday, trade framework had been in agreement between both the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants and it is up to Stanton where he prefers to go since he holds a no-trade clause in his mammoth contract. Getting rid of a franchise player to benefit your pocket hasn’t gone over well in Miami as the fans are angry. They have right to be angry because why show up to the ballpark now if the one and only talent player on the team is being shipped off for prospects who won’t have an immediate impact.

During this entire process, we have seen the difference between Derek Jeter the player and Derek Jeter the owner and it hasn’t been pretty. His latest controversial decision came when the Marlins (Jeter backed) made the decision to cut an employee who was in the hospital in need of a kidney transplant and was recovering from cancer surgery. Longtime scout Marty Scott was told that his contract that was expiring in October was not going to be renewed and that news came while he was still in a hospital bed. Scott understood it is part of the business but made it point to say, “I just think for 40 years was worth more than a spank on the butt and see you later”.

Scott was hoping that Mr. Jeter doesn’t continue to use this approach in the future. We all hope that isn’t the case because this is not the Jeter we saw who donned the pinstripes for his entire career.

This is going to be the first real test as an owner for Jeter who will now get the backlash that is deserved and will have to fix a major PR problem. His other, will be filling the seats for a team that may have nothing to show this coming April.

Instead of “Yeaaa Jeets” it’s more like “Noooo Jeets”.

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