ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred thinks Miami Marlins fans should be understanding if the team’s new owners trade All-Star slugger Giancarlo Stanton.
Former New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter became the team’s chief executive officer when a group headed by venture capitalist Bruce Sherman bought the team last month in a $1.2 billion deal. Jeter said this week the Marlins must cut payroll and are listening to offers for Stanton, who won his first NL MVP award Thursday.
“Look, I think that it’s important for new owners to come in, evaluate the state of their franchise, decide where they think they’re headed long term and kind of write with a clean slate,” Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners’ meeting.
“I think it’s unfair really to criticize a decision if it turns out to be the decision to move a player who has a contract that somebody else negotiated,” he added. “New management often comes in with a different idea about how to best put the best product on the field, and I hope — I hope that the fans in Miami, whatever decisions are made, give Bruce and Derek an opportunity to show what their plan for moving that franchise forward is.”
Stanton hit 59 home runs, the most in the major leagues since 2001. The outfielder is owed $295 million over the final decade of his record $325 million, 13-year contract.
“It’s an interesting feeling and situation for me,” Stanton said after being named the franchise’s first MVP. “This is the only place I’ve known, but I also understand the business part of it. The direction that new ownership wants to go. They’re feeling it out. We’re going to try to figure out a plan here.”
Stanton said his preference is to remain in Miami, and he wants the team’s pitching situation “to be thoroughly addressed, not just somewhat addressed.” He’s not convinced the Marlins are ready to do that.
“I’m not entirely sure, to be honest,” he said. “I know all teams have plenty of money.”
The Marlins have not had a winning season since 2009 and have not reached the playoffs since beating the Yankees in the 2003 World Series.
“I like the price. I like the new owners that we got. I like them a lot,” Manfred said. “I think Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter are the right people to move that franchise forward.”
Now 43, Jeter was a 14-time All-Star shortstop and five-time World Series champion. He had long expressed a desire to own a team.
“Derek Jeter is an intelligent, impressive young man,” Manfred said. “He is really focused on making the Marlins a success. I think he’s going to bring the same kind of focus that made him a great player to the business side of the house.”