Baseball’s winter meetings are progressing and so far, things have been relatively quiet. The Angels traded for Ian Kinsler, the Astros reportedly signed reliever Joe Smith for two years, and Brandon Kintzler might be on his way to the Nationals. And of course, the Marlins continued gutting their roster by dealing Marcell Ozuna to St. Louis.
All solid pieces, but not exactly headline-grabbing deals. Now, there is a growing sense that Manny Machado will be traded, but so far, if the Shohei Ohtani and Giancarlo Stanton moves had you thinking that there would be one huge deal after this week, you’ve been sorely disappointed.
Really the biggest action has been various people around the sport of baseball using Derek Jeter and the Marlins for batting practice. And nobody took a bigger cut at the Marlins than agent Scott Boras who said that “we’ve seen one of our major league jewelry stores become a pawn shop.” Holy bleep.
Pawn shop smack! That is strong. Really, really strong. And very, very accurate. Hate on Boras all you want, but make you sure you acknowledge that Fire.
Essentially, he’s saying that Jeter put Stanton and Ozuna in the glass case next to a busted up old watch, an acoustic guitar missing a couple of strings and the keys to a ’93 Celica.
And it wasn’t just some random drive by or throwaway comment from Boras either. He made his point very clear: “You have a community down there that grew to know four or five star players. They have a tremendous outfield there. They have a new ballpark. They have an excitement they grew to know. They suffered a tremendous tragedy and loss with [the death of] Jose Fernandez. As a community, they bonded around that team.
“You would hope that [with] ownership — new ownership — that MLB would screen the ownership, so that we have an ownership that comes in and provide additions. … [Instead], they come in and they redirect, so you’re not a jewelry store that’s coveting your diamonds. You now become a pawn shop that is trying to pay the rent of the building.”
Bam! Someone pull this dude off the Marlins! Not only are the Marlins a pawn shop, they’re a pawn shop that can’t pay the rent. Damn. And he’s not far off. It’s one thing if you want to trade off your best players, but you damn well better get some value in return. And they haven’t.
As Drew Silva from NBC Sports pointed out on twitter: Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna didn’t net a single Baseball America top-100 prospect for Derek Jeter and Co.
That’s amazing. Truly incredible. Trading the reigning NL MVP, a guy who just hit 59 home runs, and not getting a top 100 prospect in return is one thing. But chasing that by trading a two-time all-star, a guy who’s a gold glover and a silver slugger, and still not getting a top-100 prospect in return is something else altogether. That’s not easy to to.
You don’t just roll out of bed and do that. You have to work at it. I mean really work at it. That’s hours and hours of scouring the farm systems of every organization, crunching numbers, doing deep dives on the analytics, eliminating the top-100 prospects and then making your list of targets. Don’t get me wrong, winning 5 World Series rings is impressive, but trading the NL MVP and a two-time all-star and not getting anything of value in return is even MORE impressive. Do that, and you’re legend. That’s more impressive than anything Jeter ever did on the field.
I mean, the dedication that it takes to avoid accidentally stumbling into a good prospect is the kind of clutch, locked-in performance that separates the great from the good. And he’s doing all of this knowing that everyone has their eyes on him, that everyone’s evaluating everything he’s doing. That’s when the pressure is the greatest and in those moments, the true greats respond with greatness. And in Jeter’s case, greatness is a collection of second-tier prospects. It’s almost like someone convinced him that two quarters are better than one dollar because two is better than one and he took the deal. Twice.
A lot of other decision makers would’ve changed their ways when they got blasted for the Stanton deal, but not Jeter. He just kept on doing this thing. A lot of other decision makers wouldn’t have gone to a Monday Night Football game during the winter meetings, instead of, I don’t know, attending the Winter Meetings, but not Jeter. And a lot of other decision makers would make a change after getting blasted for running a “pawn shop,” but I’m guessing Jeter won’t. And I respect that. Do your thing. Shoot your shot, even if that shot is into your own foot. And you’re walking around on nubs now.
And I’m not saying that every great player is going to be a great executive. I’m saying he shouldn’t go down as one of the worst executives of all time. And Jeter is well on his way. Even if he’s only been doing it for a few weeks. Major League Baseball should have never approved this ownership group, and Jeter should have never committed to running this franchise. All he’s doing is killing his rep and legacy and what’s left of an already beleaguered franchise. Because arguably, the worst owner in MLB history sold his team to arguably an ever worse outfit than himself.