Marlins CEO Derek Jeter addressed his organization’s outlook and near-term spending plans in an appearance yesterday. David Wilson of the Miami Herald was among those to cover the chat.
Jeter offered up a bit of a soundbite when he responded to a question about pursuing a given player that the organization likes in free agency. “We’ll go get him,” Jeter provided.
There was a proviso, however. “If a guy fits with our plan and what we’re trying to do, we’ll go get him,” Jeter continued. “I should say, make an attempt to get him.”
There’s a price for every team on every player of interest. But the Fish won’t necessarily be swimming in the deep end just yet. “We must be responsible,” Jeter explained.
Nobody expected the Marlins to plunk down major cash for a premium free agent or to clog up their roster with an array of veterans. In a broadly competitive National League landscape, the Miami roster is obviously far shy of contention-quality.
Still, it’s arguably time that the club begin moving towards a winning outfit after two seasons under Jeter’s helm. And there are opportunities for value in free agency, even for a team that has no plausible hope of winning during the term of a contract. Beyond the veteran leadership component, some wise investments can generate trade returns (and perhaps stave off grievances from the players’ union).
So, what does a “responsible” offseason look like? Details were not forthcoming, unsurprisingly, but Jeter did suggest the focus was less on payroll and more on roster space and opportunity. While there’s certainly some corporate-speak in there, there’s also some underlying merit.
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Jeter spoke of the “challenging year” ahead, with the team “filling gaps” while “not blocking the young prospects.” It stands to reason there’ll be some exploration of more opportunistic pursuits, though that wasn’t an item raised by the soon-to-be-Hall-of-Famer.
At the end of the day, the ongoing focus is clear. “We have to stick with the plan,” says Jeter, “and our plan is to build a system the right way, which we’ve made a lot of progress in two years.”