Derek Jeter

Sooner or later is was going to be asked. Are the Miami Marlins tanking the 2018 MLB season? Is Derek Jeter and his franchise taking on this kind of approach early in the year? Jeter, the former New York Yankees great and new owner and CEO of the organization scoffed at the notion in a recent interview on HBO’s hit series “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” that airs Tuesday, was asked whether the team had that mindset after trading away its best players in the offseason.

“Tanking? What is … tanking?” Jeter said.

It is a segment that Derek Jeter shows displeasure for being asked such a poignant question.

Gumble, who has been known to rattle the cage of a guest or two over the years, was succinct in his question and what he meant as he defined tanking as “not trying your hardest to win ballgames in … every day.”

Derek Jeter was on the offensive for the remainder of the time in the hot seat.

“We’re trying to win ballgames every day,” Jeter said of the Marlins, who are off to a 5-15 start after trading away stars Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon during the offseason. “When you take the field, you have an opportunity to win each and every day. Each and every day.

“You never tell your team that they’re expected to lose. Never.”

In his defense, the Marlins currently have nine major league players on the disabled list, including pitcher Dan Straily, Wei-Yin Chen and third baseman Martin Prado and shortstop J.T. Riddle. The bullpen has been a disappointment this season. Rookie pitchers Trevor Richards and Dillon Peters, along with Jarlin Garcia, a converted reliever, have looked impressive at times and have faltered at others.

Derek Jeter and the Marlins beat the Los Angeles Dodgers on the road, Tuesday night.

Gumbel told Jeter he was “delusional” if he thought this was a competitive franchise and one that could challenge for a playoff berth in 2018. The former New York Yankees captain continued to defend the Miami Marlins organization.

“I expect this team to compete. To compete every sing- … you’d never tell your players that you are expected to lose. You don’t do that. You should take that as a slap in the face as a player. You should take that as a slap in the face.”

Jeter, who said he’s “enjoying what he’s doing” with the Marlins, was asked again if he expects the Marlins to contend.

“I do. I do,” Jeter said. “If I don’t believe with the … in the players that we have on the field, who’s going to believe in them?”

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