The start of Derek Jeter's tenure as Marlins CEO has "lacked his two greatest assets as a player: timing and winning," according to Andrew Marchand of ESPN.com. The decision to trade RF Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees has already "raised a flag" for '18 in Miami -- a "white one." Miami Herald reporter Clark Spencer said, "You are already hearing the comparisons to (loathed former owner Jeffrey) Loria. Jeter's honeymoon lasted about a day and a half." Marchand noted there is a narrative that Jeter was doing Yankees Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner and his team a "favor with the lopsided trade, but that's not accurate." Stanton, because of his "right to veto destinations, controlled the trade board." With Stanton gone, Jeter is the "biggest star on his own team" (ESPN.com, 12/11). On Long Island, Erik Boland notes under the Marlins’ new ownership group, the "priority is dumping payroll and building the farm system" (NEWSDAY, 12/12).
FACE THE MUSIC: SI.com's Jon Tayler wrote as the front-facing owner of an MLB team that just made a "deeply unpopular move, Jeter can’t hide, and he can't get away with being obtuse." There are going to be "more press conferences" like a conference call held yesterday where he "gets difficult questions from reporters." If he continues on his plan to "burn the Marlins down, those cries that he either doesn’t know what he’s doing or that he’s not even trying to field a functioning team are only going to grow louder and angrier" (SI.com, 12/11). ESPN's Buster Olney said, "This is the one time of the year where everybody comes to the Winter Meetings to do their business. Derek Jeter is the head of baseball operations for the Marlins, he's not here. That doesn't make sense especially in your first year. ... It's like a player not showing up to play a game" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 12/11). In N.Y., Tyler Kepner writes for Jeter, his Yankees legacy has "never seemed more distant" than it did yesterday. Jeter is "not at the winter meetings." He said that he "stayed away because attending the winter meetings is the job" of Marlins President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill (N.Y. TIMES, 12/12). ESPN's Olney said of Jeter, "As the chain of command was set up for the Marlins, not only is he part ownership, but he also has oversight of baseball operations. ... When his team makes a big trade like today, (he) needed to be the voice that was heard to explain why the Marlins did what they did” (“Baseball Tonight,” ESPN2, 12/11).
ROUGH START: YAHOO SPORTS' Jeff Passan wrote rebuilds "are hard." Passan: "They can get ugly. They can make smart people do dumb things. They can take someone like Derek Jeter, he of the immaculate reputation, of two pristine decades as a New York Yankee, and place him in the middle of a mess that is far from entirely of his making but is now his burden to shoulder" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 12/11). In N.Y., Joel Sherman writes under the header, "Derek Jeter Isn't Facing Fact He Blew It Right From Marlins Start" (N.Y. POST, 12/12). Jeter said of the Stanton trade, "From the fans' standpoint, I get it. They’re upset. They’re passionate. The bottom line is the fans want to see a winning product on the field. They haven’t seen a winning product on the field. So if you haven’t been winning, it’s time to make a change." Jeter said the trade gives the Marlins "financial flexibility." Jeter: "We're trying to fix something that's broken" (MIAMI HERALD, 12/12). ESPN's Mark Teixeira: "The Marlins are broken, but they are also broke." He added, "It's just a bad look for Derek because he knew what he was getting himself into and still didn't handle it very well." ESPN's Tim Kurkjian said, "Jeter's problem was buying into that team knowing it was pretty messed up when he got there. .... Now he's in the hole and he's right, it's broken. He has to fix it, but this is not the best way to fix it" ("Baseball Tonight," ESPN2, 12/11). The net's Olney said, "Whoever made this trade, whoever came in as the Marlins’ new ownership group to make this trade to deal with the debt was going to be criticized. The Marlins were completely boxed in" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 12/11).
TWISTING THE KNIFE: In DC, Dave Sheinin writes, "The Marlins, it almost goes without saying, were reduced to a pile of rubble." Not only did they "suffer the inherent indignity of essentially giving away their franchise player ... but then they had to hear him blast them on the way out the door" (WASHINGTON POST, 12/12). In Ft. Lauderdale, Tim Healey notes as Stanton "praised the Yankees" during his introductory press conference yesterday, it "wasn’t hard to see the juxtaposition of where he came from compared to where he’s going" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 12/12). USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale notes the Marlins and Stanton "couldn’t even agree on how they disagreed." They had "different versions on their parting." Jeter said that Stanton "asked out," while Stanton said that Jeter "was the one who wanted him out." They even had "conflicting stories on rejecting trade offers" from the Cardinals and Giants. Stanton said of the Marlins, "There was no structure, no stamp of 'This is how things are going to be.’ It’s a different direction every spring training. You’ve got to learn something new. Every spring, a different manager, every spring, or every middle of the season" (USA TODAY, 12/12). ESPN’s Pablo Torre: “It is really hard to sell the public on a teardown in good faith.” ESPN’s Dan Le Batard said the Stanton trade is “great for baseball and terrible again for the Marlins." Le Batard: "We were told that this would stop happening when they got their stadium, that the Marlins wouldn’t be this betraying entity that is filled with circus clowns always betraying [fans]." He said, "This is worse than ever.” Le Batard: “It’s an embarrassment that baseball allows this to keep happening” (“Highly Questionable,” ESPN, 12/11).
THE OTHER GUYS: In St. Louis, Ben Frederickson writes the Jeter "roast will make for great tabloids" in N.Y. However, it was Stanton’s "under-the-radar opinion about the Cardinals that should stick in the memory of a proud organization that once again found itself stuck in between defending its brand and attempting to alter its downward trajectory." Stanton "didn’t think the Cardinals could win big." The Cardinals "need a Stanton-like player to relaunch." Frederickson: "If Stanton-like players are only going to join teams with an Aaron Judge, what can the Cardinals do?" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 12/12). In L.A., Andy McCullough writes Stanton "jolted the baseball industry with his new destination." The arrival of Stanton in N.Y. also "underscored the financial restrictions facing the Dodgers this winter after five consecutive years exceeding the majors’ luxury-tax threshold." After supporting the game’s "largest payroll" every season since '14, the Dodgers may "practice this restraint this winter in preparation for next offseason." Disinterested in "bloating their budget and lacking major holes, the Dodgers have yet to make a substantial move this winter." That pattern could "hold through this week and into the spring" (L.A. TIMES, 12/12).