Back in September 2017, Major League Baseball approved the sale of the Miami Marlins to new owner Bruce Sherman, who was enticing to MLB because former Yankees icon Derek Jeter was part of the management group. It was an easy PR win for MLB to give the thumbs-up to the Sherman/Jeter tag-team, and Jeter not only assumed a four-percent stake in the team, but also the role of CEO. The Hall of Famer had always talked about wanting to own a team after retirement rather than coaching; this was an opportunity to do so.
That four-and-a-half year partnership came to a close on Monday, though. Sources revealed to reporters that Jeter would resign as Marlins CEO, and just a few minutes later, the man confirmed the news himself with a statement citing a different vision for the future of the team as the primary reason for his resignation:
It makes sense. Sherman has unsurprisingly become one of many MLB owners who is not particularly interested in running even an average payroll, and even after Jeter helped develop a young core in Miami that surprised the sport with a playoff berth in 2020 and Wild Card Series win over the Cubs, not much was done at all to add to it in 2021. They plummeted to 95 losses and weren’t competitive in an NL East that was far from a juggernaut. Indeed, Joel Sherman reported that the Marlins’ change in spending strategy played a primary role in Jeter’s decision to depart.
The Marlins confirmed the news as well with a short statement of their own:
Marlins statement on Jeter pic.twitter.com/1YPg2cDLP0— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 28, 2022
Why did Jeter take the job in the first place? Well, there are only 30 teams in the league and opportunities to run one are few and far between. I don’t think anyone’s going to claim that Jeter was a regular Branch Rickey or Andrew Friedman in the front office, but without much support from on top, it was probably a doomed endeavor regardless. It shouldn’t be forgotten, that among his first tasks were jettisoning the likes of Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich to cut payroll. Jeter’s intense competitive drive doesn’t exactly jibe with the way that teams like the Marlins operate.
The news of the resignation is only made more curious by the timing. MLB set a February 28th deadline for itself to work out a CBA with the MLBPA; otherwise, Opening Day will reportedly be postponed. This might just be supposition, but as a former player himself, it wouldn’t surprise me if Jeter took a dim view of the way that the owners’ half of the negotiations have gone, especially with him on the other side of the table until today. A few players have already taken to social media to thank Jeter, so it’s certainly possible.
Where will Jeter go from here? Who knows, but I have to imagine that the Yankees have kept one of those token “special advisor” seats warm for him if he wants it.