MIAMI (AP) — Derek Jeter played on a
winning team in each of his 20 seasons as a shortstop Fernando Rodney Jersey , which made his first year as an owner a test of patience.He admits he failed.Jeter’s Miami Marlins went 63-98 — a new, humbling experience for him, but nothing new for the troubled franchise. By finishing with the worst record in the National League, the Marlins endured their ninth consecutive losing season, the longest such streak in the majors.Their playoff drought is now at 15 years.“I’ve been preaching patience, and finding out I don’t have much of it,” Jeter said. “It’s an organization that had been broken, and we have to fix that. I’d like that to happen overnight. But we have a lot we need to improve on.”There were signs of progress. Jeter said the most positive development was the improvement made by prospects, and initial showings by 2018 draft picks.Several young major leaguers took steps toward becoming part of the long-term rebuilding plan, including pitchers Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez, Trevor Richards and Caleb Smith, third baseman-right fielder Brian Anderson and center fielder Magneuris Sierra.But contention still seems a long way away, and nothing on the field could stir South Florida from its longstanding apathy toward the Marlins. They finished last in the NL in attendance for the 13th time in the past 14 years, and the home average of 10,013 was the lowest in the majors since the Expos’ final season in Montreal in 2004.Jeter http://www.twinsfanproshop.com/authentic-max-kepler-jersey , who has become a hands-on owner in every aspect of the organization, wants to create a more festive environment at Marlins Park. With that goal in mind, the franchise will invite fans to bring musical instruments, bells, whistles and flags to a designated section next season.Better food is promised as well.“We’re trying to capture the energy, the culture, the diversity of Miami, and bring it into the park, which is not easy to do,” Jeter said. “When our fans come, we want it look like Miami, smell like Miami, taste like Miami.”The 2018 season was none too appetizing, however. And with payrolls expected to remain modest for the foreseeable future, any progress will likely come slowly.Don Mattingly, for one Joe Mauer Jersey , remains optimistic. He’ll return for a fourth year as manager in 2019, and he praised Jeter for consistency in his approach to rebuilding the franchise from the farm system up.“Our first meeting was, ‘Donnie, we’ve got a plan, and we’re going to stick to it,’” Mattingly said. “And nothing has moved away from that.”Here are things to know about how that plan is taking shape:CORNERSTONE?The Marlins want to discuss a long-term contract with All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto. A deal would send a signal that the roster might no longer be a revolving door as players depart when they become too expensive.“We’d love to keep all the good players,” Jeter said. “J.T. and his representatives are very aware of how we feel about him.”FEEDER SYSTEMJeter likely traded away two NL MVPs last offseason in the Marlins’ latest payroll purge. Giancarlo Stanton went to the Yankees shortly after winning the 2017 award, and Christian Yelich is the front-runner for this year’s honor after being traded to the Milwaukee Brewers.“Christian is a great player,” Jeter said. “Everyone will tell you that. Look, we’re happy with the four players we got back. We feel they’re going to play big roles in the future of this organization.”OUTFIELD OUTLOOKThe most heralded prospect acquired in the Yelich deal, center fielder Lewis Brinson, batted only .199 in 109 games.“He’s obviously got to get better,” Mattingly said.The manager was more enthusiastic about the speedy, 22-year-old Sierra, who batted .190 in 54 games.“The kid’s going to be good,” Mattingly said.YOUNG PITCHINGSeveral youngsters displayed potential as everyday starters in 2018 Glen Perkins Jersey , and reports from the minors were encouraging, too.“We’re excited about some of the pitchers we have,” Jeter said. “Some of the pitching prospects are closer to Miami than some of the position players.”VETERAN PITCHINGInjury-plagued left-hander Wei-Yin Chen showed he might be part of the plan going forward, which would be nice since the Marlins owe him $58 million over the next three seasons.Chen had one of baseball’s more bizarre splits: 5-3 with a 1.62 ERA at home, and 1-9 with a 9.27 ERA on the road.“I don’t know how to explain it,” he said.Figuring it out will be one more job for Jeter. A look at what’s happening around the majors today:GROWING BOTE OF WORKCubs rookie David Bote tries to keep his sensational rookie season rolling in a game against Cincinnati. Bote walked off Chicago with a 10th-inning homer Friday, his second game-ending shot this month. The 25-year-old didn’t get much hype as a prospect, but he’s finding the spotlight regularly in the majors, with each of his five home runs either tying the game or putting the Cubs ahead. That includes a ninth-inning grand slam for a 4-3 win over Washington on Aug. 12.GOOD GETMike Fiers has given Oakland a major boost in its pursuit of the Astros in the AL West, a trend the right-hander will try to continue against Minnesota. Fiers is 2-0 with a 1.47 ERA, 21 strikeouts and one walk in three starts since being acquired from Detroit on Aug. 6, finding success with the A’s by pitching up in the zone with his fastball more often. Oakland entered Friday 1 1/2 games behind Houston, and Fiers has a chance to help bump the Astros off the division lead a year after making 28 starts for the World Series champions.DODGER KILLERJustin Verlander is set to pitch against the Angels in Anaheim, though at least one Dodger fan has taken note that the Astros ace is in LA. Verlander, who started twice against the Dodgers in last year’s World Series, got a surprise Friday while dining at the Beverly Hills Hotel when his bill included a $1 million item for “Dodger Killer.”“#BeveryHillsHotel really making me pay for that World Series win http://www.twinsfanproshop.com/authentic-max-kepler-jersey ,” Verlander wrote on Twitter .BACK, BUT WITH BAGGAGEBlue Jays right-hander Aaron Sanchez is set to come off the DL against Philadelphia for his first start since a suitcase-related injury sidelined him in late June. Sanchez acknowledged Wednesday that the bruised right index finger that has kept him out for the past two months occurred when his finger got caught in a falling suitcase. The incident happened June 21, hours before Sanchez took the mound in Los Angeles against the Angels with about 180 friends and family from his hometown of Barstow, California, in the crowd. He pitched through the pain for an inning, then exited and ended up on the 60-day DL.SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVEIn a matchup between resurgent starting pitchers on a roll, Washington right-hander Tanner Roark (8-12, 4.05 ERA) faces Zack Wheeler (8-6, 3.63) and the Mets at Citi Field. Roark is 5-0 with a 1.63 ERA in his past six starts. Wheeler, who beat the Nationals at home on July 14, is 6-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his last seven outings. He struck out a season-high 10 over seven innings last time out against San Francisco, but is 3-8 with a 4.79 ERA in 12 career starts vs. Washington.
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