Miami Marlins owner Bruce Sherman: ‘We want to win’
Patience is a virtue Derek Jeter knows he doesn’t have.
Bruce Sherman views himself as a fan first and an owner second.
Both paths converge to a similar end point for the two top men in the Marlins’ front office: They want results — even though the team is still in the middle of its growing pains.
“We’re building. We’re going to continue to build, but we want to win,” Sherman, the Marlins’ majority owner, said Monday ahead of the team’s first full-squad workout at Roger Dean Stadium. “We want to win now. We want to win next year. We want to continue to win.”
Winning looks to be tough this year as the Marlins continue their rebuild centered around the development of the team’s top prospects in the minor-league system.
But Jeter and the Marlins hope the new faces to the organization who have experienced the “winning, championship culture” they plan to cultivate as the Marlins build the team from the ground up.
“I was sort of a sponge for knowledge when I was younger,” said Jeter, the Marlins’ CEO who won five World Series as a player over 20 years with the New York Yankees.. “We want to bring that same vibe to this organization.”
Look no further than Jorge Posada, who has joined the front office as a special adviser to baseball operations. Posada was a five-time All-Star catcher for the Yankees who was Jeter’s teammate for 18 seasons and has lived in Miami since 2010 and, without a truly defined role, has the ability to help the organization from a technical standpoint on the field and a mentor role off the field at all levels.
“He’s a champion,” Marlins president of baseball operation Michael Hill said. “... He’s a tremendous asset for our young catchers on top of what he brings to our clubhouse.”
Posada added: “I do want to get back in the game. I do want to help out. I want to be part of this organization moving forward.”
His presence, along with the addition of veterans such as Curtis Granderson, Neil Walker and Sergio Romo, give the Marlins a starting point to reshaping the team.
“It’s all in the mindset,” Jeter said. “We had a particular mindset when we were going through our organization that started with the boss. [Former Yankees owner] Mr. [George] Steinbrenner expected you to win every game you play. He didn’t care if you were in the minor leagues or the major leagues. We grew up with that environment and we can share those experiences with the players.
“But players also have to have their own experience.”
Players will certainly have their chance. The main five players on the Marlins’ roster over the last two years — Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, Dee Gordon and, most recently, J.T. Realmuto — are gone, and the youth movement has begun. Miami could have has many as six players in the starting lineup under age 30 on Opening Day while most of the top acquisitions from those trade continue to develop in the minor leagues. Most spots on the 25-man active roster are up for grabs.
“He’s talked about building the organization from the ground up, build a solid foundation to get us to the point that we’ll compete for a championship every year. I think that is one thing that he’ll keep in mind,” Marlins manager Mattingly said at the start of camp on Wednesday. “But then you get to the other side of it and you have to have high expectations for your players to be the best they can be and that’s getting back to the same thing, that you can win a every game. That’s a possibility. It’s what dreams are made of. From doing something that people say you can’t. You’re always looking to be there.”
The next six weeks will set the tone.
“I’ve said it to the guys before, competition eliminates complacency,” Jeter said. “That’s the bottom line. You have to take the field like your job is on the line. That’s the approach that I took as a player. That’s the approach that we’re going to have to continue to take. The best players that we have in this organization, the most talented players are going to be given an opportunity to play.”