MIAMI -- As part-owner and the chief executive officer of the Marlins, Derek Jeter oversees all areas of the organization. But look for Jeter to be more visible on the baseball side of the franchise in his second year as an executive in Miami."I kept a distance, so to speak,
MIAMI -- As part-owner and the chief executive officer of the Marlins, Derek Jeter oversees all areas of the organization. But look for Jeter to be more visible on the baseball side of the franchise in his second year as an executive in Miami.
"I kept a distance, so to speak, because I wanted to learn about the players last year, the ones in the organization that I didn't know," Jeter said. "I went down to our Minor League affiliates and watched some of the young guys we have coming up.
"So I used last year as sort of a learning experience. I'm always involved in everything around here. But you might see me a little bit more in the clubhouse."
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Jeter addressed the media on Monday at Marlins Park, as the team prepares to open Spring Training with pitcher and catcher workouts beginning Wednesday at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla.
The new ownership group, headed by Bruce Sherman and Jeter, remains committed to building from the ground up. Their message today remains the same as when they took over in October 2017.
"I have a lot of faith in our player development people," Jeter said. "We've added a lot of quality people to our system, whether it's in the scouting department [or] getting the right players. It's our job to develop those players."
Ownership spent much of the offseason making enhancements to Marlins Park, where the home run sculpture in center field has been replaced by a multi-tiered deck, among other stadium revisions.
In time, there will be more willingness to pursue high-profile free agents. Miami's most significant free-agent additions this offseason were Neil Walker, who signed for $2 million, and Curtis Granderson, who signed a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training.
For now, with a roster filled with many young players, the focus is on their development.
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"I think our fanbase is starting to pay attention to some of the players that we do have in the Minor League system, so that when they come up here, they're not so unknown," Jeter said. "I'm excited with the things we have done. As I've told you, we have to build this the right way. I know some of those decisions are unpopular, but those decisions were needed, they were necessary."
Last Thursday, the Marlins traded All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto to the Phillies for catcher Jorge Alfaro and pitching prospects, Sixto Sanchez and Will Stewart. Realmuto was the final core player from the 2017 squad, the last under previous ownership.
"We're happy with the return," Jeter said. "We got some exciting players we're going to add to this organization. Obviously, Jorge will be here this year. We got some guys we will infuse into our Minor League system. We continue to build and continue to grow."
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Realmuto was on the trade block because he has two more years left in arbitration, and he wasn't interested in signing an extension in Miami.
As the system improves and players show promise in the big leagues, Miami's focus likely will shift to adding more established players rather than parting with its veterans.
"We will always consider who we can add to our organization to make us better, when the time is right," Jeter said.
Jeter also pointed out that just because there are inexperienced players on the roster doesn't mean that the team isn't seeking to win each day it takes the field.
"When you compete, you're competing to win," Jeter said. "You do that every single day. Every day you come out here and you play a game, you have an opportunity to win. That's the mindset that I want throughout the organization. That's the mindset we're building and we're creating in the Minor League system, and we're going to bring it up to Miami."
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.