Tino Martinez thinks Derek Jeter has what it takes to run Marlins
The sale of the Miami Marlins to Derek Jeter and his partners (a guy named Michael Jordan is also chipping in) awaits approval by Major League Baseball. But Jeter’s friend, former teammate and fellow Tampa resident Tino Martinez never doubted Jeter would pull this off.
“I’m not surprised,” said Martinez, who played on four world champions with Jeter on the New York Yankees. “Even late in his career, he talked about wanting to own a team one day and run a team. He meant it. He wanted to get involved. I know it’s a long road to get to here, trying to get this thing nailed down.
“He never wanted to coach or manage at all. It was always about owning a team, running a team and trying to win another championship.”
Jeter reportedly plans to head baseball and business operations, and that makes people wonder what that means for another Yankees great, Marlins manager Don Mattingly, as well as Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who is due $25 million next season from a club that is reportedly losing money.
Martinez only knows what he knows. He knows Jeter.
“Derek definitely has what it takes, that winning mentality,” Martinez said. “When you have that mentality, you find ways. He’ll surround himself with good baseball people. All Derek knew most of his career was playing for George Steinbrenner and winning championships.”
Jeter lived both ends of the Yankees experience. He played for the richest club in baseball, the biggest payroll. But he also saw the franchise bleed its minor-league system dry before coming to its senses in recent years to build it back up. I bet Jeter took notes.
“I’m assuming he’s going to be very hands-on,” Martinez said. “He’ll want to make decisions, have a big input. He’ll get his group together and start overlooking the entire operation. When he has his mind set to something, nothing is going to get in his way. First of all, he has to get the fan base in Miami involved, getting the community to the ballpark. It’s the next phase of his life.”
Martinez knows Jeter never eased up on the gas as a player.
“He never lost that passion or that fire. Not competing for a championship, that bothered him. At the end of every season, that bothered him. I know it did. When he missed the playoffs, you knew how upset he was.
“If he’s playing golf, or cards, or board games, he wants to win all the time. That’s his makeup. That’s his mentality. He’s pretty good at golf. He’s not out there just to like see how you’re doing and talk a little bit.”
Don’t expect a long, drawn-out news conference when Jeter takes over in Miami.
“Oh, man. He just doesn’t like to say much,” Martinez said. “He’s got The Players Tribune (web site) and all that stuff. Derek likes to say things one time and let everybody read it and write it and not repeat it day after day. That’s just not Derek.”
Martinez is a minor-league consultant and adviser with the Yankees, but don’t be surprised if Jeter starts bringing in other former teammates, like Jorge Posada, to add to the Marlins mix.
“He’s going to be prepared,” Martinez said. “Nothing will catch him off guard. There will be some learning experiences, but he’ll be ready.”
Jeter and his wife welcomed their daughter, Bella Raine Jeter, into the world on Thursday.
And he has a baseball team on the way.
“Baseball needs him,” Martinez said. “It’s better with him in it. It only enhances the game. It’s going to make the Miami Marlins better. It’s going to make fans around the country take notice because of him. When you put a face and a name like Derek’s on a franchise, people will take notice.”