The first rule of the Miami Marlins’ rebuild is: You do not say the word rebuild. That diction decision came straight from the top in early October when Derek Jeter, in his first public statements as team CEO, declared he didn’t like the re-word. It has since trickled down to the front office, to manager Don Mattingly and to the clubhouse, where the Marlins’ spring training roster gathered as a unit for the first time Monday. The Marlins are not rebuilding, they say. They are building. “I have purposely said, we're building an organization,” Jeter said last week. “We're not rebuilding. In my mind, rebuilding, there is a negative connotation to that. We're building something here. Also, I think a lot of times people just automatically assume we're not going to win.” Although rebuilding is a normal part of baseball’s cyclical nature — and particularly en vogue after the rebuilt Cubs and Astros won the past two World Series — the Marlins are trying to steer clear of the phrasing because of what the early portion of the rebuilding process so often means: losing, and lots of it. The Cubs lost 101 games in their first year under Theo Epstein. The Astros dropped more than 100 games three years in a row, bottoming out at 111 in 2013. The idea is that bad records equal high draft choices. That’s how Chicago landed Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber, and how Houston nabbed Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman. The Marlins insist mass losing won’t necessarily be a part of their process. Because, you know, they’re not rebuilding. “I haven’t heard anything about rebuilding,” infielder Miguel Rojas said. “We have an organization here that we try to make the most of. I feel we’re building here — something we needed to do.” Said catcher J.T. Realmuto: “We talk about building more than rebuilding. We’re trying to build a championship team here.” Last week, pitcher Dan Straily made clear his desire to remain a Marlin, saying in part, “I want to be part of a rebuild.” Then he got a heads up from the media-relations staff: The organization is calling it a build, not a rebuild.
The Marlins are rebuilding, but they don’t quite admit it
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel | Feb 20