Miami Marlins: Derek Jeter hires mentor Gary Denbo as VP of scouting

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images /

As Derek Jeter begins filling out his front office staff, he picked a familiar face to be the Miami Marlins’ new VP of scouting and player development.

The Miami Marlins officially announced one of the first significant hires of their new ownership regime, and it’s a figure who played a key role in the career of part owner Derek Jeter. Gary Denbo will assume the role of vice president of scouting and player development, according to Tim Healey of the Sun Sentinel.

The hire was hardly a surprise, as it had been whispered about in baseball circles for weeks. Denbo spent many years as a coach and consultant within the New York Yankees organization, across several stints dating back to 1990. He was most recently the Yankees’ own VP of player development, a position he had held since October of 2014.

In Denbo, Jeter has a longtime friend, mentor, and confidant working closely with him at the highest levels of his new franchise. He managed Jeter early in his minor league career and also served as the Yankees’ hitting coach during the 2001 season.

Even as the All-Star Game appearances and World Series rings piled up, Jeter would continue seeking out Denbo’s counsel during rough periods. As he chased his 3,000th career hit in 2011, the pursuit of history was momentarily paused when Jeter suffered a calf injury in the middle of June that required his first trip to the DL since 2003. At that point, the Yankees captain was badly scuffling to the tune of a .260/.324/.324 slash line.

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Jeter worked with Denbo on his swing as he recuperated, and the results were immediately palpable upon his return to the field. For the remainder of the season, Jeter turned back the clock by hitting a blistering .331/.384/.447. And, of course, he got that 3,000th hit in dramatic fashion on July 9 with a home run.

Denbo and Jeter will be looking to make some more memories, this time in the front office. The venue is much different – Marlins Park in place of Yankee Stadium – but Jeter certainly seems to relish the challenge of transforming the club, declaring, “We’re going to turn this organization around.”

Marc DelPiano and Jeff McAvoy, Miami’s previous VPs of player development and player personnel, respectively, were dismissed from their posts last month by the new ownership, per Healey.

Meanwhile, the Yankees could also see some further shuffling among their leadership. Denbo’s contract with the team had been set to expire at the end of this month, and the same can be said for GM Brian Cashman, manager Joe Girardi and VP of baseball operations Tim Naehring, among others.

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The arrival of Denbo is the just the beginning of what should be a flurry of moves to fill out the new front office, but it provides a sense of how the group will take shape. It’s fair to say Jeter will continue to lean on the trusted allies who have already brought him much success in his MLB lifetime.