Hill's Winter Meetings press conference

December 11th, 2017

Q. Is this a sad day?

MICHAEL HILL: A sad day? I wouldn't say a sad day. Obviously long history with Giancarlo from draft to development to the Big Leagues, got to see him grow. I think that it's a win-win for both sides - opportunity for him to start fresh and an opportunity for us to gain needed flexibility. We added good players to our system, and starts us on our way of building a competitive organization.

Q. Derek Jeter said in a conference call that he kind of gave Giancarlo the option to stay to be part of what you're trying to do or seek others, and he said he was pretty adamant that he wanted to seek other opportunities. What can you add to that?

MICHAEL HILL: Well, I think that Giancarlo was made it clear midway through 2017 that he did not want to be part of a rebuild. I think as the new ownership group came in, they were made aware of that, and then we started the process to see if we could accommodate him.

Q. There were indications that this wouldn't be the only move that happens in the off-season. What can you say about going forward with the Marlins?

MICHAEL HILL: I can say that we won 77 games last year, which was not good enough and our goal is to bring a championship back to South Florida, and we know in order to do that, we need to get better, we need to rebuild our minor league system, we need to add much needed depth within our system, so that we can create the sustainable organization that we feel will give us an opportunity to win year in and year out.

Q. There's been, even before you got here, sort of an endless cycle of salary dumps, fire sales as people call them, how do you stop that cycle?

MICHAEL HILL: I know the history of the franchise. I think that what we're trying to do here is to build this the right way. You can't throw money at the situation that we're in right now. Obviously we had a situation where we had the reigning National League MVP, we had a number of players that were productive, but we won 77 games. We did not have the pitching, we did not have the organizational depth to allow us to get where we wanted to go. So now you see with this move and some others that have been made, we're trying to build this organization in a way that will allow us to compete and be successful on an annual basis.

Q. I asked Derek this on the conference call and he told me to ask you: If the goal is to build the organizational depth with minor league talent, why not take more of the burden of Stanton's contract and effectively buy better prospects that way?

MICHAEL HILL: I think that we were very happy with the prospects that we got back and all the scenarios that we worked on. I don't think it was a matter of volume, when you talk about the prospects, it was matter of the quality. I'm very happy with the players we got back. Obviously is an established Major League player. Jorge Guzman, the young right-hander, we think has a potential to be a frontline ace when you think about his skill set and the tools that he has - the highest average fastball as a starter, not just in the minor leagues or in the Major Leagues, in the history of baseball - when you think about what he brings to the table. And Jose Devers, we see a player with similar skill set to his cousin in Boston, who is strength away from being a very, very productive Major League player. So in terms of the talent that we got back, we couldn't be happier with the talent that we got back with this deal.

Q. A lot of the fans would wonder if Stanton goes, then obviously no one's is untouchable. What's the philosophy of the front office as far as who you have on your roster now and whether you would consider trading them or not?

MICHAEL HILL: I think our philosophy is to get better. That's what we owe to our fans, to the people of South Florida, is to build a championship-caliber organization, and we have fallen short. 77 games is not good enough. We haven't been in the playoffs since 2003. We haven't had a winning record since 2009. Obviously what we have been doing has not been successful, and we need to do better, and I think that is what the goal is at this point.

Q. What does that do in terms of (inaudible?

MICHAEL HILL: I said this when we were in Orlando for the GM meetings, we're just looking for ways to get better. When we were in Orlando, it was the first opportunity to be with my peers, my counterparts to see what their goals were, to see if we lined up, and if there was an opportunity for us to make a move that we felt made us better. I think with the deal that we made with Didi and the international money, that we were able to add three players that we're very excited about, and I think with the Giancarlo deal we're able to also add pieces to our system that we are very excited about as well. And I think as these Winter Meetings continue, we'll continue to look at everything. I don't think we're in a position where we can say no to one thing or another, because the ultimate goal is for us to get better.

Q. You already made two deals where you've given away international slot money. Someone argued if you're trying to build an organization and build that pipeline farm system, you should be spending that money on those players.

MICHAEL HILL: I think it's a balance. It's a balance when you think about your signing, your player acquisition budget. We felt that those dollars were better suited in acquiring better players from Seattle as opposed to an international market. And I think that's a balance that we will always look at. I mean, ultimately we're trying to add depth and quality to our system. It's going to be internationally, is it going to be through the draft, it's going to be through trade, it's going to be through waiver claims. I don't think we will stop and limit ourselves in any capacity to add quality and add depth to our organization.

Q. How about the look from the outside that you trade the home run King to Derek's former team. Did you and he discuss what that would look like to fans and to the outside world?

MICHAEL HILL: I think from our perspective we were just trying to make a good deal, something that we felt worked for our organization, and the New York Yankees were the team that stepped up and we were able to make the best deal with them.

Q. Derek said that you gave him offers from three teams, obviously Giants, Cardinals, Yankees. Were those teams that he told you he would have accepted deals to or were you hoping that he would accept deals to?

MICHAEL HILL: Well, how this process started, and I think that Derek brought this up on his conference call, I've been in touch with G and his agent since the beginning of this process, and everything that I did and we did as an organization, they were fully aware of every step of the way. At the beginning stages of this, we had the deals that we had, and at every step of the way we presented them to Giancarlo, and just kept him abreast of where things were. He did, he did at the outset tell us the clubs that he wanted to go to, and naturally those were the clubs that I called first. But at the beginning there were no deals for him with his requested clubs, the clubs that he wanted to go to. There were no deals there. So it was incumbent upon me to continue to test the market and check with the market with my peers to see where there was opportunity, where he was wanted. We came to agreement with two clubs and with scenarios to present to him, and ultimately he chose not to accept either of those deals. That was his right. We knew he had a no-trade, we knew there was a possibility that he could say no, and that's why we continued the conversations. After the San Francisco, St. Louis scenarios, when he said no, we circled back again to see if there's an opportunity to make a deal, and the Yankee deal garnered steam, and we worked long and late into over the subsequent few days to try to put something in place that we hope that would be acceptable to us and acceptable to him, and ultimately it was and we are here today announcing that the trade has become official.

Q. (Inaudible).

MICHAEL HILL: I would say it was, there had been initial contact from the beginning, but nothing concrete until the other two had gone away. Then we really worked in earnest to try to find common ground and something that worked for both of us.

Q. Were some of these teams even going back before the July deadline (No microphone.)

MICHAEL HILL: We hadn't discussed, we hadn't in earnest put him on the market until this off-season.

Q. Initially San Francisco and St. Louis were not -- those teams were off the initial list that you got, right?

MICHAEL HILL: They were not on his initial list.

Q. Can you explain the thought process of letting him get to the point where you could say hey, I know these aren't on your list but here there are. Was it hopes that you could change his mind or that he reconsiders, was that the plan?

MICHAEL HILL: We knew that he didn't want to be a part of a rebuild, a rebuilding of an organization. He didn't want to be a part of that. So with that information, you go to the marketplace and of course we knew his list, and we spoke to those clubs, and if there wasn't a deal, like I couldn't make a deal, and so you make the deals you can and you present them to him for his approval, because he has that right, and that's how it proceeded.

Q. You say there was initial conversations with the Yankees, there was nothing substantial. So was that a quick no right off the bat, and what changed after the Cardinals and Giants were out to get them going so quickly?

MICHAEL HILL: I guess you would have to speak to them as to what changed, but our initial contact with the four clubs, there was really nothing with traction, and so you move on. And you continue staying in constant communication with the player and the agent and you let them know where things are and where you're garnering any type of momentum to consummate a deal and constantly keep in contact with them.

Q. G was such a cornerstone type of a player, do you yet now know who that cornerstone player is going forward for you guys?

MICHAEL HILL: I think for us we know that we're building our organization, and I think that the goal is always to add as much talent and put ourselves in a position to win on a consistent basis, and I think as we go through this process, the opportunity for players to emerge and step up and show what they're capable of doing at the Major League level.

Q. (Inaudible) being part of your plan long-term?

MICHAEL HILL: I think we're exploring whatever ways we can to make our organization better. Don't want to talk about any player specifically, but as I said, we won 77 games last year; it was not good enough. We do not have the organizational depth in place and we have to do better.