MIAMI -- Marlins chief executive officer Derek Jeter continues to make the rounds and acquaint himself with the South Florida community.On Wednesday afternoon, Jeter was a special guest at the Miami Chamber of Commerce luncheon, where he engaged in a lively Q&A session."What we've been trying to do over the
MIAMI -- Marlins chief executive officer Derek Jeter continues to make the rounds and acquaint himself with the South Florida community.
On Wednesday afternoon, Jeter was a special guest at the Miami Chamber of Commerce luncheon, where he engaged in a lively Q&A session.
"What we've been trying to do over the last few months is to listen as much as we can," said Jeter, who was given a standing ovation before taking the microphone.
The meeting at the Coral Gables Country Club took place a week before the Marlins are set to begin Spring Training on Feb. 14 with pitchers and catchers' workouts at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex in Jupiter.
One of the first questions dealt with the direction of the franchise, which hasn't had a winning season since 2009 and last went to the postseason in '03.
"We have a long-term strategic plan to make this organization sustainable over time," Jeter said. "The only way to do that is to invest money into our Minor League system, player development and scouting. The only way to be sustainable is to have that pipeline of players coming along through the organization."
The Marlins have been one of the most active teams in the offseason, restructuring the roster by trading Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Dee Gordon and Marcell Ozuna.
The ownership group, headed by Bruce Sherman and Jeter, took over in early October, and it immediately expressed that changes would be made.
"From the initial press conference, we've said there were going to be some unpopular decisions that are going to be made," Jeter said. "Just know that every decision we make is going to be for the betterment of the organization.
"I understand the frustration. But the bottom line, and the way I looked at it was, it has been a challenge for us to get people to the stadium for years. From everything I've heard, that challenge has been because they haven't had a winning product on the field. So if there is not a winning product on the field, you have to make changes."
Wednesday's event was part of a busy week for the organization. On Tuesday at Marlins Park, the organization unveiled its 25th anniversary logo. And the annual FanFest is scheduled for Saturday at Marlins Park.
Jeter repeated that he doesn't like the word "rebuild," because it has a negative connotation. He notes that the organization is building.
"What I mean by patience -- that does not mean that we aren't going to be competitive," Jeter said. "We will be competitive. Every single person that takes the field for this organization will be playing like they're playing for their job. That's the attitude that I had when I was playing. That's the attitude we'll have as an organization."
During his playing career with the Yankees, Jeter was part of five World Series champion teams. He noted that even though the organization is building from the bottom up, the Marlins will be in the process of setting a standard.
"Trust me, when I was a player, I didn't have a lot of patience," Jeter said. "It's pretty simple, you either win or you lose. It's the same thing now in the ownership position, you either win or you lose. There is a path to get to where we want to be. Even though there have been some unpopular decisions, every decision we make is going to be for making the Miami Marlins' organization the best organization in baseball. A first-class organization, from the players to the front office to our fans."
The final question was a light-hearted one. Jeter was asked who had a chance to win a championship first -- the Marlins or Miami's new professional soccer franchise, which features David Beckham?
"We're starting from a bigger hole, a deeper hole than he is," Jeter quipped as the audience laughed. "He is starting from scratch. We had some things that we need to fix."
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.