Before his ownership group has even been approved by fellow Major League Baseball owners, Derek Jeter is preemptively cleaning house in the Marlins' front office. According to a report Friday evening in the Miami Herald, Jeter ordered the firings of franchise icons like Jeff Conine, Jack McKeon, and two Hall of Famers in Andre Dawson and Tony Perez.
The quartet had been serving as special assistants to team president David Samson or owner Jeffrey Loria. Barry Jackson, the author of the report, noted that Jeter didn't actually inform the group himself of their dismissals because he "didn't want to do it." Jeter asked Samson to issue the dismissals, which is even more bizarre given that Jeter reportedly decided that Samson will also be let go.
Conine earned the moniker "Mr. Marlin" after starring on the team from 1993-97 and returning in a mid-season trade when the team won the World Series in 2003. McKeon managed that 2003 team and Jackson reported the longtime skipper had an agreement with Loria to manage the Marlins for one game next September so he could become the oldest-ever manager in major league history.
“No question you're sad," McKeon told Jackson about his dismissal. "I'm disappointed, but you understand. A new regime is coming in and they want their new people in there. You can’t fault them with that."
Dawson played the last two years of his 21-year career with Miami in 1995-96 and joined the front office in 2000. Perez had long been retired by the time the Marlins were born in 1993.
It's clear that change is coming with the Marlins. That much we could have expected with Jeter and a new ownership group. The timing, if nothing else, is what's surprising. MLB owners will reportedly meet next month to vote on Jeter's group purchasing the Marlins.