“It’s not like we’re trying to chase winning one time,” he said. “We all know how difficult it is to win. We want to have an organization that, year in and year out, we have an opportunity to compete for a championship.”
Opportunity has always been a telling word for Jeter. Joe Torre, his manager for 12 years with the Yankees, spoke often of how Jeter reacted when the team cleared a starting spot for him in 1996: Jeter acknowledged only that he had the opportunity to win the job. He was not entitled to it.
Three years ago, as a rookie executive with the Marlins, Jeter said much the same thing. He did not expect fans to trust him, because they did not know him. He was careful with his promises and pledged to alter his mind-set to fit his new role.
“When you’re playing, you’re competing for that particular year,” Jeter said. “When you’re in this position, you’re playing for this year, next year, three years, five years down the road. So you’ve got to have a certain amount of patience — but I don’t have a lot of it. I tried, but I don’t have any.”
Then he reconsidered.
“Hold on one sec, I’ll tell you one thing — I have more patience with players than most, because I understand how difficult it is to play this game,” Jeter said. “I understand that players are going to struggle, and quite frankly I like to see players when they struggle, because everyone’s going to do it. It’s just a matter of seeing how you’re going to bounce back.”
The Marlins have acquired several intriguing prospects via trades, often banking more on tools than track records. Some have indeed struggled in their first taste of the majors: Infielder Jazz Chisholm was 9 for 56 this season, and outfielder Monte Harrison was 8 for 47.
Sixto Sanchez finished poorly but looked dominant in his first five pitching starts, with a 1.69 earned run average. The Marlins control Sanchez for six more seasons, while the player they traded for him, catcher J.T. Realmuto, will be a free agent this winter after two seasons with Philadelphia.