Ten questions with Marlins’ Bendix amid team’s poor start: ‘I’m extremely disappointed’

When Bruce Sherman hired Peter Bendix as the team’s president of baseball operations in November, the Marlins owner said he was trying to achieve “sustainable” success.

“Our drafting has been disappointing overall, especially domestic drafting,” Sherman said at the time. “We have to do better. You must develop players. We had two drafted players on the roster [last] year — Nick [Fortes] and [Andrew] Nardi. We have to do better than that.”

But if sustainable success is to be achieved, it apparently won’t begin this season.

The Marlins entered Thursday with a 4-15 record, tied with Colorado for the worst mark in the National League.

Bendix — who was Tampa Bay’s general manager and No. 2 in the Rays’ baseball hierarchy the past two seasons — agreed to answer questions as the Marlins’ struggle through one of the worst starts in the franchise’s 32-year history:

How disappointed are you in the start of the season?

“I’m extremely disappointed. This club is very talented, and I expected we would get off to a much better start. It’s certainly not for lack of effort or preparation, from the players themselves or from the coaches. I’ve been very happy with the effort, professionalism, and desire to improve shown by the entire group, throughout spring training and into the season, even with the difficult start. It’s a long season and I know our performance will improve.”

Do you now feel you should have been more aggressive in free agency and built on the club’s success from last season?

“We explored a lot of different options in the offseason, including adding players via free agency. Ultimately, we added [shortstop] Tim Anderson, and I’ve been very pleased with his performance and how well he’s fit in. We have a lot of talented, young players that I expected, and still expect, to perform well and take steps forward.

“The success of last year’s team was built on its pitching, and our pitching remains really strong moving forward, even with the injuries we’ve sustained so far. We have to be very disciplined with every move that we make, especially within free agency. I did not expect this start and I’m very disappointed, but we can’t go back into the offseason at this point.”

In that case, why not be more proactive with trades this past winter or before the season that would have strengthened the farm system?

“We explored a lot of different moves this offseason, including many different trades. Ultimately most of those conversations led nowhere, as is often the case with trade discussions. We didn’t receive any offers compelling enough to take away from a team that we thought had a chance to return to the postseason in 2024.”

Were you under any financial restriction from Bruce Sherman in any way — payroll, free agency, staffing etc.?

“Bruce has provided me with every resource I’ve asked for. We continue to invest in this team on and off the field, with the goal of building sustainable success. That doesn’t happen overnight and many of the investments we’ve made so far are behind the scenes, in areas that we expect will pay off in the future. Bruce has not said no to any recommendation I’ve made, in any area.”

( tabulates the Marlins’ payroll at $93.8 million, which is the fourth lowest in baseball. has the team’s payroll at $97.4 million, which would be the third lowest and a drop from $105.4 million last season.)

Before the season you stated that this is not a rebuild. Is that still the expectation?

“Our goal remains to build the team into a consistently competitive club. We have a lot of talented, young players in our organization, many of whom are in the big leagues. We do have to be responsive to our circumstances, and remain disciplined when making decisions that will help lead towards our club having sustainable success at the Major League level.”

It was recently reported that manager Skip Schumaker had the 2025 team option removed from his contract, by mutual decision. How has that affected your day-to-day relationship with him?

“Within our clubhouse and within our organization, this is a complete non-issue. Skip and I continue to have a great, positive, productive relationship. Skip continues to demonstrate all of the skills and traits that led to him winning manager of the year last year. The last thing any of us want is for this to be a distraction, and I’ve been very happy with how, at least internally, it has not been a distraction at all.”

Are there players on the team that are a year or two from free agency that you have considered trading. And conversely, are there building blocks you see in the organization that could be part of the future?

“It’s my duty to always consider ways to make the organization better, in the short- and long-term. With the goal of sustainable success, we need to have a disciplined approach and, at times, make difficult decisions. It would be malpractice on my part if I wasn’t considering everything on the table.”

Are you familiar with the history of the Florida/Miami Marlins and how fans can be frustrated with the cycle of non sustained success? (Winning, losing, rebuilding etc.)

“I am. I remember when the Marlins won the World Series in 1997, as I grew up in Cleveland and was a huge fan. I remember the subsequent decisions that were made, and I remember thinking how demoralizing and upsetting that must have been for Marlins fans. And I understand the pattern repeated itself after the 2003 team’s remarkable run. What an awful juxtaposition of incredible success immediately followed by the most disheartening, frustrating decisions you can imagine.

“I’ve never been a fan of, or worked for, a team that won the World Series. I’m driven every day to work as hard as I can to be able to learn what that feels like. But ultimately, our measure of success here will be sustained excellence. The best way to win a World Series is to be good in as many seasons as possible, as anything can happen in the postseason.

“My goal is to build our organization into one where we expect to have important games in September, we expect to make the playoffs, we expect to have a chance to win the World Series year in and year out. My goal is to build our organization into not just a perennially competitive team, but an organization that the people of Miami are proud of, that Marlins fans are excited to watch, and ultimately build an organization that the South Florida community can celebrate a World Series win and look forward to the next season as well.”

If you had one thing that you felt you had to accomplish before the end of the 2024 season, what would that be?

“We need to have continued evaluation of our many young players. There’s a lot of opportunity for players to step up and show that they can be a part of our future.”

Have the first six months on the job been easier, more difficult, or about what you expected?

“ Before I took this job, I was told that no matter what anyone told me ahead of time, I wouldn’t understand what this is like until I experienced it for myself. That has been very true, in a positive way. It’s an enormous challenge, one I find consistently exciting and invigorating. I’m extremely grateful to Bruce for entrusting me in this position, and for his continued support of my vision. The start to the season has been incredibly frustrating on the field, and we wish we could have delivered better results for our organization and for Marlins fans.

“To Marlins fans — and Marlins skeptics — reading this: thank you for your patience and thank you for your support. I know how much you want to root for a consistently competitive team, and I can assure you we’re working tirelessly to make this happen. We have made tremendous progress in building the organization and I confidently believe we are going to right the ship in the near future.”

Craig Mish is The Miami Herald’s senior baseball correspondent.

Miami Herald sportswriter Barry Jackson contributed to this report.