Derek Jeter has found a place to live in South Florida, gone around to local businesses to forge new partnerships, and looked for ways to turn the Marlins around, both on and off the field.
But one thing he hasn’t done is talk to Giancarlo Stanton.
“When the time’s right,” Jeter said, “we’ll speak.”
While the Marlins are actively talking to teams interested in trading for the slugger, the team’s new chief executive officer has left discussions with Stanton to president of baseball operations Michael Hill.
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“It’s not like it’s radio silence coming from this organization,” said Jeter, who was surrounded by reporters Wednesday at the General Managers Meetings in what were only his second public comments since ownership changed hands in early October.
Jeter refused to even confirm that the Marlins are in the process of trying to trade Stanton and his $295 million contract.
“I understand the assumptions,” Jeter said, who was peppered with questions about the Marlins’ biggest star. “But we have not come out publicly and said we’re going to trade him.”
The Marlins are, however, trying to trade Stanton. A source said at least eight teams are in discussions with the Marlins, with at least six of those deemed to be “serious.”
Among those believed to be in on trade discussions for Stanton, at least to some degree, are the Cardinals, Giants, Red Sox, Phillies and Dodgers.
What Jeter would acknowledge was that the organization has been losing money and that the losing on the field is “unacceptable,” both of which he’s trying to reverse. The Herald has reported previously that payroll will likely be slashed to about $90 million. Stanton is due to make $25 million next season.
“There are some financial things we have to get in order,” Jeter said. “That’s the bottom line. It’s an organization that’s been losing money for quite some time, so we have to turn that around. How we do that, it’s not clear.”
Ridding the franchise of Stanton’s big contract would therefore appear to be an obvious first step.
“It’s easy to point the finger at him because he makes the most money,” Jeter said. “But it doesn’t necessarily mean that’s (a trade) going to be made.”
Since Stanton has veto power on any deals, it will require his approval to sign off on a trade. But, so far, Jeter said he has found no reason to speak with the one holding the trump card, Stanton.
“At some point, we’ll have a conversation,” Jeter said. “I don’t know when that is. If you get into the practice of reaching out every time there’s a rumor for every player, you’d be spending 95 percent of your time on the phones trying to dispel rumors.”
Jeter said Stanton isn’t the only player who has drawn trade interest from other teams.
“Teams haven’t only reached out about Stanton,” Jeter said. “They’ve reached out about a lot of our players.”
But Jeter said “we’d like to get the shape of what our team’s going to be sooner rather than later.”
Jeter said this much is certain: “We need to make adjustments, and we can’t continue to run the organization how it’s been run. So we have to change that. If we were going to run the organization the way it was run before, we wouldn’t have bought it.”
Jeter noted the Marlins haven’t been to the playoffs since 2003 and haven’t fielded a winning team since 2009.
“That’s unacceptable,” he said. “That’s unacceptable to the ownership group. It’s unacceptable to the fan base. But every team has to go through a period where they have to build and we’re in that position right now.”