Since Derek Jeter’s ownership group took control of the Miami Marlins in late September, the following things have happened:
— The contracts of Hall of Famers Andre Dawson and Tony Perez, former longtime manager Jack McKeon and Jeff “Mr. Marlin” Conine, all of whom were special assistants or team ambassadors for the franchise, were not renewed.
— Fox Sports Florida dropped play-by-play announcer Rich Waltz, who had been calling Marlins games for 13 years. It also severed ties with Conine and Preston Wilson, who had served as studio analysts. The network said publicly that it alone made the decision to sever ties with the television personalities, but sources close to the decision told the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson they were skeptical that Jeter’s group didn’t have a hand in the moves.
— The team has shopped Giancarlo Stanton, who hit 59 home runs last year, in an effort to slash payroll. Stanton has a no-trade clause in his MLB-record contract, which has $295 million and 10 years remaining on it. If he does not approve of a prospective trading partner, the team reportedly will start trading away other pieces of its roster.
All of those moves could be explained away. A new ownership group obviously would want its own people in the front office and the broadcast booth, even if that means getting rid of some franchise stalwarts, and payroll discipline is usually a good thing (though the Marlins have crossed the line into blatant fire-sale territory a couple of times over the course of their history).
But one other move, detailed in a story published Friday by Yahoo’s Jeff Passan, is going to be a little harder to excuse. According to Passan, the Marlins told longtime scout Marty Scott that his contract would not be renewed on Oct 16. At the time, the 64-year-old former Marlins vice president was in a hospital bed recovering from colon cancer surgery. Oh, and he also needs a kidney transplant because of diabetes.
“Derek Jeter doesn’t owe me anything,” Scott told Passan. “Probably in their hearts they did what they thought was right. I know based on certain aspects of the game, I probably was making too much money. But we all love the game. We’re all in it together. I just think 40 years was worth more than a spank on the butt and see you later.
“I’m very hurt. Forty years in baseball, I let a lot of people go. I never, ever fired somebody 10 days, 15 days before their contract was up. If I knew I was going to fire somebody, I did it at the beginning of September.”
A team spokesman told Passan that the move was a baseball-operations decision made by team president Michael Hill and that three other Marlins scouts also were fired.
Scott told Passan that he was able to secure health insurance through COBRA and hopes to schedule his kidney-transplant surgery for January. Still, he hopes that Jeter doesn’t continue this approach over the course of his ownership tenure.
“The ironic thing about all this is in their playing days, my two favorite athletes over the past 20 years were Brett Favre and Derek Jeter,” Scott said. “Because they played their respective games the way they need to be played. They respected the game. They weren’t hot dogs. They hustled. That’s why they were my favorite players. But Derek’s in a new game now, one of management and ownership, and certain things about this side of the game he needs to learn.”
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