JUPITER, Fla. -- Since taking over in 2017 and building the organization from the farm system on up, the Marlins’ new ownership group has preached patience.
Now, after two consecutive last-place finishes, CEO Derek Jeter says it is time to start seeing some progress at the big league level.
“We need to make progress,” he said. “We need to turn the corner. We have to get better. Guys have to get better. You have to improve. If you’re a young player that’s here in camp trying to make a name for yourself, you’re trying to win a job, and you’re trying to keep a job, you have to get better and you have to produce.”
Jeter addressed the media Monday for the first time since Spring Training started, and he covered a lot of ground in his organizational overview.
In the past two seasons, the Marlins have taken their lumps after roster overhauls.
The first two-plus years had a focus of building up a depleted farm system, which now ranks among the better ones in the Majors.
And in the offseason, the Marlins added several proven veterans to upgrade the big league roster. They brought in infielder Jonathan Villar, first baseman Jesús Aguilar, outfielder Corey Dickerson, catcher Francisco Cervelli and reliever Brandon Kintzler. They will mix them in with a young core that includes third baseman Brian Anderson, catcher Jorge Alfaro and shortstop Miguel Rojas.
“I think we should be a lot better this year than we were last year,” Jeter said. “We want to see progress as an organization -- year-in, year-out. I think we do have a better team, better players. But the bottom line is we still have to go out and perform on the field.
“There’s a lot more talent in our organization now. But talent doesn’t win games. You have to perform.”
Early in camp, many of the prospects are producing on the field, as well as making it clear they are competing for big league jobs.
“When they’re ready, they’re going to get their opportunity,” Jeter said. “I’ve always preached competition. We have an organization that is layered with talent, and guys are going to start pushing. That’s a good thing.”
Jeter, elected into the Hall of Fame in January, is pleased that the players are buying into the club’s message.
“These are messages that are resonating with our guys at a young age,” Jeter said. “Whether it’s Captain’s Camp or the hitters’ camps that we have, the guys are together quite a bit. And they’re growing closer. They’re pushing each other.
“When you hear players use words like, ‘family,’ that’s a good thing. That’s how great organizations are built.”
Jeter also spoke about shortstop prospect Jazz Chisholm, who has shown plenty of energy early in camp.
“The same message is with Jazz as is with all the players,” Jeter said. “Self-evaluation is something that’s important. Every year, you have to look yourself in the mirror and say, ‘How can I get better? What do I need to improve on?’ Not just necessarily what I’m good at.”
The Marlins open on March 26 against the Phillies at Marlins Park, and Jeter is hopeful that more fans will be drawn to the organization this season.
“We’re seeing a little uptick in ticket sales in Spring Training,” Jeter said. “We hope that carries over to Opening Day and the regular season. We need our fan base to come out and support. From the interactions I’ve had, people are starting to get excited.”