MIAMI -- Derek Jeter held a town hall Tuesday night with about 200 Marlins season-ticket holders, many of whom were angry about the direction of the team under his ownership group.
Some fans said they were upset about the way the payroll has been slashed and the team's biggest stars have been traded away. Some wore Giancarlo Stanton's jersey, honoring the National League MVP who was traded to the Yankees 10 days ago. Another shouted that Jeter spent "$1.2 billion and then ran out of money."
"I can't sit here and say trust me," Jeter told the fans, who were invited to attend the first in a series of town halls. "You don't know me. You earn trust over time. I know how organizations are sustainable over time. I know you have been through a lot. I can't relate to it. It's going to be a tough road. It's going to take time and effort."
Jeter calmly answered questions for 90 minutes. Asked if the team got enough in return for Stanton, he pointed out that they got $265 million of relief that will give them the flexibility to do what they want to do.
"We gave a gift, right?'' Jeter said. "I hope every gift I give returns $265 million.''
One of the most memorable exchanges was with Laurence Leavy, known to fans as Marlins Man. Leavy, famous for his orange Marlins jacket and his seat behind home plate, said he has been a season-ticket holder since 1993 and hasn't renewed because he won't pay major league prices for "a Triple-A team."
Jeter earned a laugh from the crowd when he told Leavy, "I'll let you throw out the first pitch with a 10-year plan."
The Marlins haven't had a winning season since 2009 and went 77-85 this year, but several fans argued that the team was only a couple of starting pitchers shy of contending and Jeter's group should have added talent instead of dismantling.
"You can't throw money at a problem and dig a bigger and bigger hole and not have any depth in the organization,'' Jeter said. "You have to build from the bottom up.
"I hear your pain. I know you've been through a lot. But we're trying to build something that is sustainable, and this is the only way to do it.''
The rookie owner disputed the impression that his group is underfinanced after buying the team for $1.2 billion. One fan said the dismantling leaves that impression and expressed frustration with Jeter's talk about improving the spectator experience.
"You act like you ran out of money,'' the fan said. "You're not going to win here with dancing girls. You're going to win with ballplayers who know how to win. The fans are alienated. They're upset. That's what you're dealing with here.''
Although Jeter has said he'll oversee both baseball and business operations, it's unclear to what degree he'll be a hands-on owner. With Stanton gone, he becomes the face of the franchise by default, but he has seemed reluctant to embrace that role.
When one fan told Jeter that she emailed her complaints to him, he recoiled in alarm.
"You don't have my email address,'' he said.
Jeter said the franchise lost too many games and too much money under previous owner Jeffrey Loria. He said it was not acceptable that they haven't made the playoffs since 2003. He was asked several times when the team planned to begin spending money again.
"We will add when we can add," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.