Derek Jeter is catching a lot of backlash after being seen on live television of the Monday Night Football game between the Dolphins and Patriots. Jeter was a no-show at his first Winter Meetings as ownership that same day. This doesn’t mean Jeter hasn’t been busy though.
The MLB offseason, after a lull of a start, has kicked it into high gear. Among the two biggest deals from the past week involved Dee Gordon and Giancarlo Stanton, two former Miami Marlins, who have combined for six All-Star game appearances.
Instead of building the future of the Marlins around Stanton and Gordon, new Marlins Vice President of Baseball Operations Derek Jeter opted to start with a clean slate by shipping the two stars to the American League.
In return for Stanton and Gordon, Jeter’s Marlins organization would be expected to haul in a king’s ransom for the superstars. Instead, five prospects were acquired, none of which are ranked in MLB.com’s Top 100 prospects. Starlin Castro, a 2017 All-Star, also was acquired but is reportedly back on the trade block.
The prospect return for the two players was far from ideal, but time will only tell if the players turn out to be anything. Jorge Guzman and Jose Devers, the two prospects obtained from the Yankees, have major-league potential.
Guzman hits 100 MPH on his fastball with ease, and he put up great numbers in Short-A ball. He struck out 88 batters in 66.2 innings with a WHIP of 1.04. Devers, the cousin of Red Sox third-baseman Rafael, is an eighteen-year-old with great plate patience and speed in the lowest levels of the minor leagues. He stole 15 bags and walked 18 times in just 42 games of rookie ball. The power just isn’t there yet, and he won’t initially enter the Marlins top 30 prospect list.
Nick Neidert, the main piece in the Gordon trade, is projected to be a mid-rotation pitcher once he fully develops. He finished his year in AA, but he struggled after getting called up from High A ball. Neidert is two years away from the bigs at best. They also received Christopher Torres who is a 19-year-old shortstop who draws great praise for his defense and speed. He is also two years at best away from a big league call-up, and I would expect closer to three to four years.
The main issue in Derek Jeter’s process of revamping the Marlins organization was the way in which he made his decisions. Giancarlo Stanton had a full no-trade clause in his contract meaning he could choose to veto any trade at any time. After Stanton denied Jeter’s attempts to trade him to San Francisco and St. Louis (each of which included more prospects that were higher-ranked), Marlins executives threatened to keep him on their roster should he not accept either deal (note: Giancarlo told ownership he did not want to be a part of the team’s rebuild earlier in the offseason).
Derek Jeter wasn’t prepared for Giancarlo Stanton to veto any of his trade proposals. As a result, Jeter and the Marlins executives might have panicked. They received an offer soon after from the Yankees, a team Stanton was interested in, and took it shortly after.
The same can be said about Dee Gordon’s trade experience. Gordon’s name was relatively quiet around rumor circles until all of a sudden the trade to the Mariners went through. This could be attributed to another panicked attempt to gain value from a situation where Jeter took anything rather than nothing.
Derek Jeter’s first two months as a part-owner/baseball operations leader of the Miami Marlins have been tumultuous and painful for Marlins fans. Not only did he force his star player out of the organization, but he also ended up getting rid of valuable assets for nothing more than a roll of the dice in the prospect bin. Guzman and Neidert have incredible potential, but they still have a lot to prove. The process of returning the Marlins to the playoffs for the first time in 15 years won’t be an easy one. It will be far more difficult if Derek Jeter questionably manages his assets as he has already shown.
Overall, receiving just four somewhat average prospects for two of your top four players, one who is the NL MVP, should disappoint the Miami Marlins fan base. The Giants and Cardinals could’ve provided three to four better prospects along with eating the contract of Stanton. Jeter and the Marlins were in a sticky situation, and Stanton couldn’t bail them out by approving San Francisco or St. Louis.