Miami Marlins

Jeter signals that Mattingly will be back with Marlins in ’19

Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter (center), chats with Manager Don Mattingly and coach Perry Hill (far right), during a team stretch/workout a day before season opening’s work out day at Marlins Park on Wednesday, March 28, 2018.
Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter (center), chats with Manager Don Mattingly and coach Perry Hill (far right), during a team stretch/workout a day before season opening’s work out day at Marlins Park on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. pportal@miamiherald.com

There’s already been so much roster turnover on the Marlins under new owners Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter that it’s hard to say what next year’s team will look like.

But Jeter gave indication on Thursday that Don Mattingly is staying put as manager.

“He’s under contract, yeah,” Jeter replied Thursday when asked about Mattingly’s future with the team before adding with tongue-in-cheek humor: “Did he say something? Is he going somewhere?”

Mattingly has one year remaining on the four-year deal he signed under previous ownership. The Marlins have gone 215-259 under Mattingly, never once finishing with a winning record or advancing to the postseason.

Then again, the Marlins haven’t had a winning season since 2009 or reached the postseason since winning the World Series in 2003.

And expectations were low going into this season after the new owners traded off an All-Star cast of outfielders -- Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna -- and second baseman Dee Gordon.

The Marlins, who could become only the second team in the past 25 years to score the fewest runs while allowing the most, are 59-92 and trying to avoid losing 100 games for only the third time in franchise history.

Jeter said nobody should be satisfied with the team’s record but emphasized “it’s going to take some time.”

“I’ve been preaching patience,” Jeter said to an impromptu gathering of reporters outside the dugout. “I’ve been finding I don’t have much of it. But we’re making progress and we’re taking steps in that direction. It was an organization that had been broken. We have to fix that. I’d like for it to happen overnight.”

More changes are likely in store.

While Mattingly’s job appears safe, other members of his coaching staff haven’t been told whether or not they’ll be retained. The Marlins also have several key roster decisions to make during the offseason, the most significant of those involving catcher J.T. Realmuto.

The Marlins intend to offer Realmuto a contract extension. Whether or not he accepts is another question. Realmuto is under team control for two more years before hitting free agency, and if he declines an extension offer, the Marlins could decide to trade him to receive maximum value in return.

“J.T. and his representatives are very aware about how we feel about him as a player,” Jeter said without going further.

Jeter made clear the Marlins will make a strong commitment to the international market, and sources said they have great interest in trying to sign Cuban outfielder Victor Victor Mesa, the top player on the international free agent market.

Only the Orioles have a greater pool allotment to spend on international free agents.

“It’s a priority for us,” Jeter said. “We’ve acquired some (international pool) money through trades. We’ll continue to do that. That’s a big area of growth for us as an organization.”

Jeter acknowledged that the poor attendance at Marlins Park is “something we need to improve upon.”

The Marlins will finish last in home attendance among all major league teams this season and post the lowest average attendance figure by any MLB team since the 2004 Montreal Expos.

“One thing we’re happy with is just under 60 percent of our members have renewed (season ticket plans) going into next season, which is way above the pace we were at least year,” Jeter said. “We’re investing a lot of money as an ownership group in capital improvements in this park.”

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Realmuto was voted the Marlins’ Most Valuable Player by the Miami chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Statistically, Realmuto has turned in the best season ever by a Marlins catcher.

Brian Anderson was voted the team’s top rookie by the Miami writers.

Outfielder Lewis Brinson received the “Good Guy” award for his professional manner in dealing with the media while Miguel Rojas received the Jeff Conine Award for the player who best exemplified the work ethic of the former Marlin.

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