Miami seeks right fit in Hill's replacement

October 19th, 2020

The Marlins’ search for a new head of baseball operations has begun, and chief executive office Derek Jeter said the organization will not rush into making a final decision.

“We’ll take our time and make sure that we make the right decision here with who we decide to lead our baseball operations,” Jeter said. “We’re going to sit down and explain to [the candidates] how we operate. The way we operate this organization is, it’s a very collaborative group.”

The Marlins are in the market for a new department head after announcing on Sunday they have parted ways with Michael Hill, the club’s president of baseball operations since the end of the 2013 season.

In the interim, the department will be run by Dan Greenlee and Brian Chattin. Both have the titles of assistant general managers. On Sunday, Jeter announced Greenlee was promoted to his new role after serving the past three seasons as director of player personnel.

The reason for the change at the top is that Hill’s contract expires at the end of the month. The Marlins had discussions about bringing Hill back, but the decision was ultimately made to move in another direction.

When the current ownership group headed by Bruce Sherman and Jeter took over after the 2017 season, Hill was already under his existing contract, which expires on Oct. 31.

Already, a few external names were mentioned as possible replacements -- Billy Eppler and Tim Naehring.

Both have ties to the Yankees and have familiarity with Jeter, and many officials currently in the Marlins’ organization who previously worked in New York.

However, as of Sunday, the Marlins had not reached out to any possible candidates. But that doesn’t mean either won’t be asked to interview.

In late September, Eppler was dismissed as general manager of the Angels. Naehring is the Yankees' vice president of baseball operations, and he has long been viewed as a future general manager.

Whichever direction the Marlins go, Jeter notes the job description is evolving. So may the official title. The person who gets the job may be named president of baseball operations and/or general manager.

“When you talk about my job, it’s to look across both sides of the organization [business and baseball], and I do feel as though we do need a general manager/president of baseball operations, however you want to define it in terms of title,” Jeter said. “But I think we do, obviously, need that because we have a lot of departments. We need someone who is leading the baseball operations department.”

Gary Denbo, the vice president of player development and scouting, is part of the decision-making process.

As do others, and Jeter mentioned by name: Adrian Lorenzo (special assistant of player development and scouting), Stan Meek (special assistant to the president of baseball operations), D.J. Svihlik (director of amateur scouting), Hadi Raad (director of pro scouting) and special assignment scouts Bill Masse and Joe Caro.

“We have a lot of people involved in the decision-making process,” Jeter said. “I always like to have as many opinions as possible before making a decision.”

One big player-related decision for the organization already appears to be settled.

Jeter confirmed the Marlins plan to pick up center fielder ’s $12.5 million club option for 2021. This isn’t a surprise, because it has been said numerous times after Marte was acquired from the D-backs on Aug. 31 for Caleb Smith and Humberto Mejía.

“We moved some very talented players in our mind, pitchers, to get Marte,” Jeter said. “So that is the plan to bring him back. I don’t want to lock it in. But we wouldn’t have made a decision like that if it was just for a couple of weeks. I would say our plan moving forward is definitely to have Marte come back.”