Jeff Conine says no to Derek Jeter, walks away from the Marlins

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Back in September, Derek Jeter, then not yet officially the Marlins owner, had outgoing team president David Samson fire Marlins special assistants Jeff Conine, Andre Dawson, Tony Perez and Jack McKeon. He caught a lot of heat for that, just as much for his indirect handling of the situation as for the act of dismissing them itself.

Jeter reversed course on that decision earlier this month, claiming that it was all a big misunderstanding and offered Conine and the other their jobs back. Turns out, though, that the offer came with a 50% pay cut and a reduced role. Conine, known as “Mr. Marlin,” has rejected the offer, reports the Miami Herald. Here’s Conine:

“To say I’m disappointed, that I won’t have a role in this organization, yeah, I’m disappointed . . . I spent 7 1/2 years as a player and the last nine years as someone working with the organization. I’ve always considered myself a Marlin. I’m a member of this community. I want to see them win again. I want to see them get back to the World Series and the playoffs.”

To be fair to Jeter and the Marlins, the article notes that Conine previously had input in baseball decisions, sitting in on meetings about trades and signings and stuff. He was also in uniform before games, serving as something of a pregame coach, even though he was not formally on the coaching staff. Jeter, in contrast, wanted to reduce the role to one in which Conine was in uniform at spring training only and in which he was no longer involved in baseball operations discussions, serving instead as a team ambassador. His pay would be cut from $100,000 a year to $50,000 a year.

I can’t speak on the money — I have no idea what guys in those sorts of positions usually make — but Jeter’s desire to take him out of baseball ops meetings does not seem at all unreasonable. That’s Jeter’s bailiwick now and he’s entitled to shape his decision making team how he likes. In earlier stories about this it was implied that Conine always was more of a team ambassador type without a lot of substantive duties, but that’s apparently not the case. It makes sense to keep him in an ambassador role, but it’s not some snub to limit him to that role. It’s Conine’s prerogative to walk away given that the job he had is not really available to him anymore too, of course.

Anyway, this little saga — a saga in which Jeter came off poorly in the public eye for most of it — seems to be over now. The only real takeaway, I think, is that Jeter now knows that he’s far less able to control the way in which he and his work is portrayed in the media as an executive than he was as a player.