Derek Jeter says he will help develop a winning culture with the Miami Marlins that will emphasize hard work, discipline and no excuses.
The turnaround won't happen overnight, he said, but added the new ownership group believes in the market and the fan base.
Jeter and new controlling owner Bruce Sherman spoke publicly for the first time Tuesday about their group's $1.2 billion purchase of the Marlins. Their news conference came two days after the Marlins concluded their eighth consecutive losing season, the longest streak in the majors.
"To be teaming up with Derek Jeter is truly extraordinary," Sherman said during the introductory press conference. "I'm just so excited about the opportunity with an icon like Derek as CEO of the Marlins is a great experience we're all looking forward to achieving together."
It will be the first ownership change in a decade and a half for the franchise. In 2002, Jeffrey Loria purchased the team and had initial success when the then Florida Marlins won the World Series the following season.
However, a 14 season playoff drought coupled with an icy relationship with fans and the South Florida community following the team’s move to Marlins Park in 2012 and the events surrounding the stadium deal soured many on the team’s front office and Loria.
"We believe in this market. We believe in this fan base," Jeter said. "We are focused on bringing the fans back."
Jeter will lead baseball and business operations for a team that hasn't been to the playoffs since 2003. He has about a 4 percent stake in the ownership group and said he will surround himself with qualified people.
"I'm not coming in here thinking I know everything about team ownership. I do not," Jeter said. "One thing I'm good at is knowing what I do not know."
Among issues to be addressed by the new owners will be the future of major league home run and RBI champion Giancarlo Stanton, whose salary will nearly double next year to $25 million next year, which could make him unaffordable for the revenue-challenged franchise. Also in question are the status of manager Don Mattingly and president of baseball operations Michael Hill.
Jeter said evaluations of all personnel will be done, as happens with every team every offseason.
"We do have to rebuild an organization," Jeter said.
Jeter, who won five World Series titles during his 20 seasons with the Yankees, posted an article on The Players Tribune – a website he helped create for athletes to write columns and offer perspective – discussing some plans for how they intend to change the culture within the team to a winning one.
"The way I see it, doing things the right way, over and over, leads to sustained success. I’m not just talking about wins and losses...but also about developing a winning culture throughout the organization," Jeter wrote. "That’s what is most important, and that journey starts today. It will not happen overnight. But our ownership group is focused on building a team that this community can be proud of."
The new ownership group has already made several decisions, parting ways with long time Marlins officials and consultants like Jeff Conine, Tony Perez and even former manager Jack McKeon.