SATURDAY: The reason the Marlins fired their executives before Jeter’s group assumed ownership of the team is that their contracts will now have to be paid by outgoing owner Jeffrey Loria, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets. Jeter’s group will save $5MM.
FRIDAY: The Marlins are continuing their front office housecleaning as the new ownership group prepares to take over, with Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reporting that assistant GM Mike Berger, VP of player development Marc DelPiano, VP of pitching development Jim Benedict and VP of player personnel Jeff McAvoy have all been let go. As with the firings of four Marlins special assistants last week, incoming co-owner and CEO Derek Jeter didn’t make these new dismissals himself. Instead, outgoing Marlins president David Samson was again asked to deliver the news to the now-former members of Miami’s baseball ops department.
It’s normal, of course, to see new owners make wholesale changes to a team’s pre-existing front office personnel. (The only unusual aspect seems to be the fact that Jeter is outsourcing this task to Samson rather than handle the firings personally.) It does raise some question about Michael Hill’s future role with the team; the president of baseball operations is reportedly being kept on by Jeter and Bruce Sherman, though likely in a different capacity since so many of his chief lieutenants have now been fired.
Several reports have tabbed two current Yankees executives as candidates to join the Marlins’ front office — VP of player development Gary Denbo and special assistant Jim Hendry. According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Marlins have yet to contact the Yankees about Denbo or Hendry, though many within the Yankees organization believe Denbo is a sure thing to leave, possibly to become the Marlins’ new general manager.
Hendry, of course, is a former GM himself, running the Cubs’ front office from 2002-11. Heyman reports that Hendry has a good relationship with Jeter’s agent Casey Close, who himself has been mentioned in rumors about possibly taking on a front office role in Miami. Close has told people, however, that there are no plans for him to leave Excel, Heyman writes.
Two more names under consideration for front office jobs include Braves special assistant Gordon Blakeley and former Marlins VP of player development Jim Fleming, according to MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro.
As for the on-field managerial role, Don Mattingly has yet to hear about his fate for 2018, Jackson reports, though he is widely expected to be staying. Jeter and Mattingly obviously are well-acquainted with each other from their days in New York. Mattingly only has a 154-166 record as he finishes his second year as Miami’s skipper, though it’s hard to attribute that lack of success to Mattingly given the off-the-field tumult of the team’s sale and the tragic death of Jose Fernandez.