One of the most overqualified general managers in major league history was introduced in Miami on Monday, with Kim Ng and her 30 years of experience hired as the Marlins GM.
Ng is the first female general manager in any of the four major male North American sports (baseball, basketball, football, hockey), hired in Miami 15 years after interviewing for the Dodgers GM job that went to Ned Colletti in 2005. Ng interviewed for several open positions before landing the Marlins job.
“After so many times, you feel deflated and think it’s not going to happen,” Ng said in her introductory press conference on Monday. “But the one thing I want to make clear to people is, even if it hadn’t happened, I was never going to see my career as a failure. I’ve had a tremendous career.”
That career began with the White Sox front office in 1990, then later a four-year stint with the Yankees that saw three World Series championships. She was with the Dodgers for 10 years (2002-11), followed by the last nine years working in the commissioner’s office. She worked a variety of roles with the Dodgers, under three different general managers — Dan Evans, Paul DePodesta, and Colletti.
Ng also handled salary arbitration with the Dodgers, including Eric Gagne after his Cy Young-winning 2003 season. Gagne, in his first year eligible for arbitration, sought $8 million, but the Dodgers countered at $5 million, which was the winning number. The vast majority of Ng’s arbitration dealings with the Dodgers saw agreements, but the team won both cases that went to an arbitration panel — Gagne in 2004, and reliever Joe Beimel in 2007.
“When I got to LA and got more knowledge and learning under my belt is when I felt like maybe this was a possibility,” Ng said. “I was put into some situations that were not in my comfort zone. I was farm director for a year, then took on more responsibility with pro scouting, and that’s where I got my sea legs under me.”
- From Olivia Witherite at The Athletic: “Ng left no doubt to the people watching that women, Asian women and diverse people belong as decision-makers in baseball.”
- Ng mentioned Billie Jean King as an inspiration growing up. Bill Shaikin at the Los Angeles Times talked to King, now a Dodgers co-owner, about how she is inspired by Ng.
- Jay Jaffe at FanGraphs, who is a Hall of Fame voter for the first time this year, gave his initial thoughts on the full 25-player ballot. There are seven ex-Dodgers.
- Mookie Betts had a wonderful year in baseball, winning a World Series in his first year with the Dodgers, finishing second in NL MVP voting, and capturing Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards. Now he can say he was drafted by the Harlem Globetrotters as well, with the Globetrotters noting in their press release, “The 5-9 Nashville native, who can also dunk a basketball, chose to pursue a career in baseball...”
- From over the weekend, Jack Harris at the Los Angeles Times examined the free agent case of Jake McGee: “If this is the end of their relationship, it was a mutually beneficial partnership: The Dodgers got productive innings on the cheap. McGee rebuilt his reputation.”
- In NL West news, the Padres announced they signed Mike Clevinger to a two-year contract, buying out his two remaining years of salary arbitration, and that Clevinger would undergo Tommy John surgery Tuesday and miss the 2021 season.