As MLB’s lockout continues with no end in sight, almost guaranteeing that the 2022 MLB regular season won’t begin in time, Derek Jeter announced Monday he will be stepping down as CEO of the Miami Marlins after serving at the helm for the last four seasons. The Baseball Hall of Famer has sold his 4% equity stake acquired when he joined as a limited partner in the ownership group led by businessman Bruce Sherman.
The Hall of Famer who won five World Series as the Yankees shortstop and captain and delivered 3,465 career hits cited philosophical differences.
“The vision for the future of the franchise is different than the one I signed up to lead,” said Jeter. “Now is the right time for me to step aside as a new season begins.”
BREAKING: Derek Jeter steps down as @Marlins CEO and sells his stake in the team
Jeter said the “vision for the future of the franchise is different than the one I signed up to lead,” when he took over the Marlins.
Did you know? Jeter was MLB's first and so far only Black CEO. pic.twitter.com/jPPb13VLNO
— Void Media (@VoidMedia1) February 28, 2022
Jeter Knows Too Much & Ownership Team Doing Too Little
When the 47-year-old Jeter became a part of the new ownership group for the Marlins, it was thought that he would be bring a new identity, winning culture and progressive approach to the franchise. Jeter made immediate efforts to tap into the franchise’s passionate Latin Caribbean fanbase, which has slowly become the driving force behind baseball culture in the area.
According to The Wall Street Journal,” Jeter’s abrupt and unexpected departure was surprising both for its content and timing. Jeter was the public face of retired money manager Bruce Sherman’s ownership group, which bought the Marlins from Jeffrey Loria in 2017 for $1.2 billion. Though Jeter had only a small share, he had an outsized influence in the front office, running the Marlins’ baseball and business operations.”
Jeter’s contract with the Marlins was set to expire later this year. The announcement came on the same day owners and the players’ union were in Jupiter, Fla. trying to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement in an effort to end the lockout before March 31st Opening Day.
MLB did this. The owners' arrogance. The mistreatment of players. As the league threatens to turn its lockout into a canceled Opening Day, the story of how something so very avoidable grew into Rob Manfred's disastrous outcome.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 28, 2022
The Marlins have only made the playoffs three times since 1993, have constantly traded away superstars, including Giancarlo Stanton coming off a 59-homer MVP season and most recently Christian Yelich (who won an MVP with Milwaukee in 2018) and slugger Marcell Ozuna. Meanwhile, despite Jeter’s efforts, Miami has ranked last in the major leagues in attendance in all three of his seasons when fans were allowed.
It’s obvious that Jeter was not given the freedom to make decisions or the resources that the ownership team promised him when he was brought into the fold as a minority owner and CEO. According to the New York Post, Jeter went into the lockout believing Sherman approved an additional $10 million to $15 million in payroll spending. Sherman went back on his word, and Jeter took it personally. Not only breaking a promise, but a move that would actively hurt the team’s chances to win. Something Jeter could not deal with any longer.
Reports also say, Sherman was jealous of Jeter being recognized as the face of the franchise.
Jeter’s selling of his Marlins stake was a blow to minority ownership in baseball and a big enough deal for MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred to make a statement.
“He helped build a talented front office with the Marlins, including moving the game forward by hiring women in top roles in the club’s baseball operations and executive leadership, and a foundation that has positioned the Marlins for long-term success,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said of Jeter. “Derek is a pillar of our game and we look forward to his future contributions to baseball.”
The Lockout Shows MLB Owner Disconnect: So Does Jeter Situation
This lockout has shown us that the mentality of MLB owners is cutthroat and money-driven. They don’t seem to have any real connection with the players as people. As a former player, Jeter has a relationship with the players and an appreciation and understanding that without them we have no game. The owners are intent on playing hardball and trying to break the spirit of the players union, rather than meet at the table, respect each other and work out an amicable deal not solely embedded in greed and capitalism.
If we know anything about Jeter, he can be straight-laced, corporate and conservative, when need be, but he has a genuine love of the game that’s undeniable. As far as diversity in MLB goes, the league has never had a Black majority owner, but Jeter was the second Black minority owner of note (Magic Johnson owns 2.3 percent of LA Dodgers) and many thought this was the first step to him one day joining Michael Jordan as the only Black athletes to own a majority share of one of the major professional sports teams.
The NFL doesn’t have a Black owner and the NBA has one. Twenty years ago, Robert L. Johnson became the first black majority owner of an NBA franchise, the Charlotte Bobcats (now Hornets). Johnson sold his interest in the franchise to Jordan in 2010.
The reasons for Jeter’s abrupt fracture from the Marlins ownership team have not all been laid out yet, but it’s clear that his way of thinking doesn’t jive with the other owners and probably most of the owners across the 30 MLB franchises. So, Jeter bows out gracefully and will probably put his celebrity and efforts into other areas of baseball.
Return To The Yankees In Some Capacity?
Now is the perfect time for the Yankees to bring him back into the fold as an advisor or an executive of some capacity.
Derek Jeter needs to return back to the #Yankees and be part of the organization front office
— Arby (@ABeltran1993) February 28, 2022
Because the Marlins are perennial losers and Jeter comes from the old school Yankees philosophy of perennial winning. The Steinbrenner Boys are probably not astute enough to consider bringing Jeter in because they also want to run things a certain way, much different than their World Series-winning Daddy George did when he spared no expense and developed the ideology, “The season is a failure if we don’t win the World Series.”
— 🅃🄷🄴 🄱🅁🄾🄽🅇 🅉🄾🄾 (@BronxZooNYY) February 26, 2022
Besides, Brian Cashman has had the keys to the kingdom for decades. Cash is the longest-tenured GM in baseball. He started as an intern in 1986 and was promoted to assistant GM in 1992 before being named the General Manager prior to the 1998 season. He couldn’t deal with Jeter walking through the stadium and offices being worshipped like the incomparable Yankees legend he is.
Miami could barely field a competitive team, despite having a rich farm system, a beautiful ballpark in Little Havana with a local fan base that has strong baseball passion, and a brilliant baseball mind at CEO. They did make the playoffs in the COVID season, going 31-29, but it’s clear the Marlins front office are not trying to compete for championships. Jeter’s not accustomed to being associated with the lower rung of achievement. And the last thing he wants to do is allow his reputation as the ultimate winner to be damaged by a self-centered majority owner who isn’t committed to winning, just ego battling.