Derek Jeter’s Marlins continue to make missteps. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
The Miami Marlins haven’t played a single game since Derek Jeter took over as the team’s owner, but they’ve already taken plenty of losses. The former New York Yankees legend has faced a lot of backlash and criticism after taking over in Miami, and those cries only got louder Wednesday.
Early in the day, it was revealed that Fox Sports Miami had parted ways with at least three analysts from the Marlins’ broadcasting crew. Play-by-play man Rich Waltz — who held the job for 13 years — was among those let go. He was joined by both Jeff Conine and Preston Wilson, who both served as studio analysts.
Fox Sports said it was 100 percent responsible for the cuts, but Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald explained some aren’t so sure about that.
Fox Sports insisted on the record that decisions on these dismissals were made entirely by Fox, not by the Marlins.
But several people close to the situation were highly skeptical of that, noting that Fox loved Waltz all the way until the time Derek Jeter bought the team. A source very close to Conine said Jeter did not want Conine to remain with the broadcast crew.
As Jackson notes, cutting Waltz has had the biggest impact. He wasn’t just loved by Fox, he also had the support of both his peers and Marlins fans. Awful Announcing compiled a couple tweets from fans upset and angry that Waltz was let go.
Things got even worse in the afternoon after Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports revealed the Marlins are already looking for additional investors. According to Heyman, the team is seeking an additional $250 million, though the team would not confirm that figure.
Heyman acquired slides from a presentation being prepared for potential investors that outlined the team’s plans going forward. It’s filled with most of the usual “rah rah” positive statements, but also contains some hints at how the team plans to operate in the coming years.
There’s a section on “player payroll discipline,” which is both an interesting phrase and confirmation that the club is planning to cut down on payroll. The document mentions a focus on the farm team, hinting at another massive rebuild.
Heyman notes that it’s believed the team will want to reduce payroll to between $85 million and $90 million. The Marlins were at about $115 million at the start of 2017.
Cutting payroll shouldn’t come as a major surprise, as the team is currently entertaining offers for slugger Giancarlo Stanton. Still, that range seems fairly extreme. Only three teams spent less last season.
As for the team already seeking more investors, it’s tough to fully parse through exactly what that means. It’s possible that the current investors are already worried about how much money they put into the club, and are hoping to lighten the load. The team also has to pay back roughly $100 million. It’s possible they are concerned about meeting that figure. Heyman notes it’s possible they are just looking to pay that back sooner.
Given that this is the Marlins, the prevailing notion will always trend toward the negative. Jeter and his group were supposed to finally change that. Somehow, they’ve only made things worse thus far.
There’s still time for Jeter to recover and turn the Marlins into a model franchise. There’s also a chance fans will actually start to miss Jeffrey Loria … and that’s saying something.
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