Derek Jeter hires Gary Denbo away from Yankees

MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 03: Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter speak with members of the media at Marlins Park on October 3, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 03: Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter speak with members of the media at Marlins Park on October 3, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Derek Jeter has made his first major strike as Marlins CEO, stealing away Yankees Vice President of Player Development, Gary Denbo.

Gary Denbo and Yankees great, Derek Jeter, have been close since the early 90s, when they first met in the minor leagues as hitting coach and prospect. Some 20-plus years later, the two continue their relationship, this time in Miami as front office executives.

On Monday, Denbo, 56, agreed to join the newly minted co-owner of the Marlins as overseer of player development and amateur scouting — though, his exact title is still up for debate. But does it really matter?

What’s important is the fact that the Yankees are losing an immensely valuable 23-year employee — one that helped general manager Brian Cashman usher in a new era of Baby Bombers.

Not only did Denbo help facilitate many of the trades that reshaped the Yanks over the past 15 months, but his loss signals one of the last remaining Jeter associated entities still in place in New York.

Just over a month ago, Jeter’s ‘Turn Two Foundation,’ which was established way back in 1996, removed the iconic Yankee pinstripes from its logo.

As hitting coach of the Yankees in 2001, Denbo helped soothe a veteran core of players win the American League Pennant. In 2011, Denbo single-handedly guided Jeter’s resurgence of his patented inside-out swing.

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But we shouldn’t be too surprised by Denbo’s departure to South Beach. After all, he is the man who created Captain’s Camp — a seminar of sorts, that rewards the organization’s most promising prospects the chance to learn, interact and be mentored by past greats — including The Captain, himself.

Denbo’s leadership in the minor leagues has been instrumental in turning around the sometimes problematic attitudes of both Gary Sanchez and the recently traded Jorge Mateo.

Inspiring leadership, both on and off the field, Denbo had a hand in molding Aaron Judge from a talented player with a defensive end’s body, to a surefire Rookie of the Year Winner and MVP candidate.

Even players we’ve yet to see reach the big leagues have Denbo to thank for his fresh outlook on the importance of grooming hungry young men — like reliever, turned starter Chance Adams and super utility player in the making, Tyler Wade.

There’s also the slew of International free-agents Denbo spent hundreds of hours scouting, namely Estevan Florial, Domingo Acevedo and Miguel Andjuar.

And let us not forget, he was at the forefront of appealing to Cashman’s better judgment to acquire prospects who had lost their way since being drafted so high, such as Dillon Tate and Billy McKinney. Both now find themselves on the Yankees’ top 25 prospects list.

As Jeter said at his introductory news conference as co-owner of the Marlins (per Sun Sentinel):

"“We do have to rebuild the organization. It starts with player development, scouting,” Jeter said. “We have to be strong in those areas, because if you’re going to have a sustainable organization over time, you need that pipeline of young players that can come in.”"

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Jeter certainly got his man. We wish the pair a ton of good fortune in the future. Just not when they face the Yankees.