MIAMI – The Marlins have traded former batting champion Dee Gordon.
They're also on the verge of trading National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton.
And it's just the beginning of the purge.
All of this leads me to the question I've been asked multiple times since Jeffrey Loria sold the franchise: is Derek Jeter going to be a bad owner?
The question is fair and unfair all at the same time.
It's a fair question because it makes you wonder why an ownership group would pay over a billion dollars for a team and then immediately alienate fans by trading away popular players and also making moves off the field that have raised some eyebrows.
Jeter has been labeled by some fans and media as no better than Loria. Ouch. I'm not sure you can find something more insulting to be called in this town.
I've long advocated a full rebuild for whatever new group would take over the Marlins, but I can also admit Jeter hasn't handled his first few months well from an optics standpoint.
Perception can become reality, and right now the reality is Jeter is doing nothing to endear himself to the few Marlins fans left post-Loria.
Yet, the reason I think the main criticism has been unfair is because Jeter is doing the right things from a baseball perspective. This franchise needs to be purged. It needs to be cleansed. It needs to be washed away from any remnants of the Loria era.
This team had the highest payroll in team history, the NL MVP and it still didn't finish over .500 or sniff the playoff race. They also continued to have some of the lowest attendance in baseball. It was pretty much rinse and repeat from the last decade of Marlins baseball.
This franchise needs to start from rock bottom, but sadly we're seeing that getting to rock bottom hurts. The Marlins have one of the worst farm systems in baseball, and one of the most mediocre rotations in baseball. They have no pitching depth and no ace.
All the Marlins have is a few big bats and that’s it.
This formula is simply not sustainable.
Jeter, or any owner who would have come in, knew the mess he was inheriting.
Gutting a franchise makes any owner look pretty bad, even a person as popular and beloved around baseball as Jeter.
His image as a future Hall of Fame player does nothing to ease Marlins fans who just want to see a team that competes and doesn’t trade away all its players.
Jeter may not be handling everything the way some fans had expected, but he's doing everything in rebuilding this franchise that I had hoped for. Tear it all down.
It’s impossible to gauge what kind of owner Jeter will really be without seeing what Miami builds as the next few seasons come.
How will they draft? What kind of prospects will they get back in trades to rebuild the farm? What types of free agents will they eventually pursue? Will they do a better job of signing international players? These are all important questions that are a long way from being answered.
Jeter has said numerous times already that rebuilding things doesn't equate to losing.
That's not true. That’' just an owner trying to keep the fan base positive, but let's get the truth out there. The Marlins will lose a lot of games next season and will probably lose a lot of games over the next few more seasons. That is the pain of rebuilding. Just ask the world champion Houston Astros.
But if fans can weather this early storm of anti-Jeter feelings, there's a chance they're rewarded in the end. This brings me back to the original question: Is Jeter on his way to being a bad owner?
It's far too early to even consider the answer. If I can give Jeter any advice, it's that he must do a better job of being open and transparent with fans to what is happening as the plan takes shape.
But, to criticize the rebuilding of a franchise before its even done being torn down is ridiculous.
Dee Gordon was the first to go, but he will be far from the last.
This is the price to pay for years of Loria not caring about the farm system, handing out awful contracts and only worrying about the bottom line of a potential sale.
Loria is now gone, but his ghost still remains over this franchise. As ugly as it feels so far, it's Jeter's job to keep this exorcism going, and it's just getting started. Don't say I didn't warn you.