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MLB Star Believes He Knows Why Derek Jeter Stepped Down

Justin Turner for the Los Angeles Dodgers

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 19: Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers walks off after batting during the 3rd inning of Game 3 of the National League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves at Dodger Stadium on October 19, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Derek Jeter stepped down as the Miami Marlins CEO on Monday after four full years in the position. The surprising decision led onlookers to wonder what prompted the former New York Yankees icon to leave.

On a day where MLB stepped dangerously closer to canceling games during a contentious lockout, Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner blamed Jeter's departure on a frugal organization unwilling to spend enough to build a winner.

"My sources, common sense and reading in between the lines, tell me that one of our games greatest champions, Derek Jeter, is stepping away from a team with one of the best young pitching staffs in the game because ownership isn’t committed to winning and spending the money to try and win," Turner wrote. "Derek Jeter is a winner and if you ask him to lose he’s going to step away. Thanks for your continued years of leadership and everything you’ve done for our game DJ."

The 37-year-old clarified that he hasn't had any direct conversations with Jeter. It's a reasonable theory, though. Per The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, the former shortstop released a press statement hinting at a chasm with the organization. “That said, the vision for the future of the franchise is different than the one I signed up to lead. Now is the right time for me to step aside as a new season begins.

Heard Jeter believed going into the lockout that there would be another $10M-$15M that the Marlins would spend on the 2022 roster, and that strategy evaporated during the lockout. It was central to Jeter’s decsion to leave as CEO.

— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) February 28, 2022

" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">The New York Post's Joel Sherman also reported that Jeter's decision stemmed from the Marlins further tightening their already small budget.

According to Spotrac, the Marlins currently have $55.7 million on the books for their 2022 payroll, MLB's fourth-lowest amount. Turner's Dodgers, meanwhile, have a $214.5 million payroll even though longtime pitching mainstays Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen remain free agents who can't sign during the lockout.

At the start of Jeter's tenure, Miami traded Giancarlo Stanton a year after earning 2017 NL MVP honors. That same offseason they sent Christian Yelich to the Milwaukee Brewers, where he promptly became the 2018 NL MVP and a back-to-back batting champion.

Miami made the 2020 playoffs, going 31-29 in a shortened season with an expanded postseason pool. Last season, however, the notoriously thrifty franchise regressed to 67-95 with a National League-worst .671 team OPS.

Yet as Turner noted, the Marlins are stacked with young (and cheap) pitching talent. They could feasibly build a competitive squad by acquiring some hitting upgrades to support a formidable rotation led by Sandy Alcántara, Trevor Rogers, and Pablo López.

That's not something ownership appears willing to do. If Turner is right, that caused Jeter to exit rather than settle for mediocrity.