It’s not often, barring Florida’s hurricane season, that New Englanders can brag about the weather up here. But there’s one thing we can gloat about, and that’s ownership. Ownership of our historic franchise, the Boston Red Sox. And as Derek Jeter continues his fire sale of the National League’s 5th ranked offense in 2017, it is becoming more and more evident that despite Dombrowski’s slow start to the offseason, we are lucky to have a front office that wants to win now, tomorrow, yesterday, whenever.
Completely the opposite of what’s going on in Miami right now.
If I were a Marlins fan, I’d be deflated. It’s not every day – or every decade – the reigning league MVP is sold off to your owner’s former employer. Which, you could make a solid argument for, money wise. But Stanton is a generational talent, and it’s painful to let a player like that depart for a trio of minor leaguers. Even before the jettisoning of Giancarlo, Dee Gordon was shipped to the cold northwest, where he’ll be looking to make a successful transition to centerfield, a la Craig Biggio. But that hasn’t been enough for Jeter. After moving on from one of the games better leadoff batters and last season’s home run champ, he has decided that Marcel Ozuna’s 124 RBI (earned $3.5M in 2017, mind you) are better suited in St. Louis. As we speak, Christian Yelich, who has 39 long balls, 74 doubles, 178 runs scored and 179 runs driven in since the start of 2016 is on the block; regardless of the fact that he’s only owed $9M next season and is locked up long term. And for what it’s worth, wave buh-bye to Edinson Volquez and his 0.9 WAR.
Does Derek Jeter even plan on fielding a full nine next season, or will that be too expensive as well? I know, he’s a Hall of Famer. Even led the league in runs, once. But there’s a sharp contrast between a player and a boss, and it looks like the former shortstop is learning the hard way.
What’s quietly been troublesome of Jeter’s handling of the organization is the slew of firings that have taken place, including Marty Scott (who was recovering from surgery as he battles cancer), as well as special assistants Jack McKeon, Jeff Conine, Andre Dawson, and Tony Perez. You’d think Jeter would see the value in that group, what with the five world championships and multiple MVP awards they’ve combined to accumulate. Even better, the former Yankee requested team president David Samson to fire the aforementioned special assistants for him, before firing Samson himself!
Maybe I’m wrong here, and perhaps the bitterness of watching the fourteen time All-Star rake Sox pitching for so many years is clouding my judgement. As it stands, Miami has added nine prospects from Jeter’s wheeling and dealing; not too shabby, especially since he’s taking over the 28th ranked farm in the majors. But how many of those acquired young talents will actually pan out at the major league level? Four, three, two even? It conceivably would make just as much sense to retain Stanton, Ozuna and Gordon, as they are the type of players that you hope your prospects will be groomed into! And when (or if) the trade returns do become perennial All-Stars, guess what- you’re going to have to pay ’em or trade ’em… round and round the cycle will go.
As a lifelong Sox fanatic, I will say this in favor of Jeter: what’s happening in Miami right now is a byproduct of the prior ownership’s perpetual mishandling of the team, the park, and the city. The cost of Miami Park is astronomical, far more than even the $500M that the county invested in. Reason being, they simply didn’t have the $500 million at the time the park was to be constructed. So the county of Miami-Dade sold bonds on Wall Street, creating a loan that when all is said and done, will end up costing a disastrous $1.2 billion, with loan payments set to run from 2026-2048. Jeffrey Loria is lucky he didn’t run the franchise into the ground, so regardless of the new ownership group’s questionable beginning, anything is better than Loria in charge. The very purpose for building the park, back in 2012, was to stop the endless carousel of fire sales, and to turn the Fish into a club that players want to represent. The team went on a massive offseason spending spree, bringing in Jose Reyes, Mark Beuhrle, and Heath Bell; none of the three returned the following season. Gone were supposed to be the days of rebuilding, losing, rebuilding, winning, rebuilding, repeat. Now, with Jeter’s recent throttle of maneuvering, who the hell is going to show up for games in 2018? While Miami might have quite a few bandwagon fans, there are plenty of passionate ones as well. But they’re not going to pay to watch a triple A lineup take the field, and they’re certainly not going to dole out half a week’s paycheck just because Derek Jeter is running the show.
Marlins fans, you’ve never gotten a fair shake. From Loria to Jeter, it seems hard to even celebrate the World Series titles your players and coaches worked tirelessly for.
Here in Massachusetts, on the other end of the spectrum, New Englanders and Sox fans everywhere are complaining that the Winter Meetings came and went like a fart in the wind, with our President of Baseball Ops seemingly accomplishing very little. The two biggest pieces of news this week, rumors aside, were Sam Adams supplanting Budweiser as the official beer sponsor for the Red Sox, and the acquisitions of rule 5 picks Andrew Ferguson and Luke Tendler. It seems laughable that we’re not satisfied with the outcome of the meetings, as we know that Dombrowski is working towards contracts for JDM and Eric Hosmer, as well as exploring the trade market that still harbors the talented Jose Abreu, Manny Machado (please no), Khris Davis, and assuredly others who’s names somehow weren’t leaked to social media. Say what you will about the Sox farm system dropping to 22nd in baseball, but the Sox are playoff contenders every year, and that’s about as much as you can ask for as a diehard.
Marlins fans, I hope you have better days ahead. Hang your hats on your championship banners, and see if Derek Jeter and company can turn things around. Ironically enough, Jeter recorded the first ever hit in the five year old Marlin Park. And now, as the club’s new owner, one can only hope he’ll eventually hit a home run.