Sunday, November 20, 2022

Marlins GM Kim Ng, Under The Microscope

 BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

When it comes to making ground breaking hires, the Miami Marlins have an excellent track record of doing just that.

On November 13, 2020, Kim Ng was hired as general manager of the club. She became the first woman to become a general manager of a men’s team in the history of major North American Sports. She also became the first female Asian-American and first East Asian-American general manager in MLB History.

In the Marlins first season under Ng, they finished fourth in the National League with a 67-95 record.

This past season, Miami finished with a 69-93 mark in what would turn out to be the final campaign for Manager Don Mattingly.

I remember the fan fare when the hire was made. 

During our Zoom Media Availability, this session was packed. 

I wasn’t able to get a question in this time although it didn’t matter because everything I wanted to ask was addressed.

During the past two years, I’ve enjoyed a good working relationship with Ng. She’s very knowledgeable, polite and quite cordial. 

When she was hired, there is no question that the 54-year old native of Indianapolis, Indiana possessed the qualifications to get the job.

From 1990-1996, she served as assistant director of baseball operations for the Chicago White Sox.

From 1998-2001, she was the assistant general manager for the New York Yankees and also held the same role with the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2002-2011.

She is a three time World Series Champion, earning rings in 1998, 1999 and 2000 with the Yankees.

Yes, this is the same club that Yankees legend Derek Jeter captained into an incredible dynasty.

When Bruce Sherman finalized a deal to purchase the Miami Marlins, the sale was completed in September of 2017. Jeter had a 4% stake in the franchise and was named Chief Executive Officer of the team, and Sherman, the controlling owner, entrusted him to oversee day-to-day operations of the team.

On February 28, 2022, Jeter announced that he would no longer serve as CEO of the Marlins or hold any shares in the club, thus ending the relationship.

When Jeter left, Sherman has put his faith in Ng to run the show and as I mentioned earlier, the Marlins suffered another tough season leading to the mutual parting of ways with Mattingly.

When Mattingly departed during the final week of the season, the mood was somewhat shocking and Ng answered questions as you’re going to see in the video inserted in the story.

The Marlins had a very thorough search to find their next skipper that led to the hiring of 42-year old Skip Schumaker, the former Bench Coach of the St. Louis Cardinals.

When the Marlins report to Spring Training in February, the new manager won’t have to travel far to meet his new players at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter. 

He’ll just have to walk across the field and go to the Marlins offices and clubhouse on the third base side of the facility.

But as Mattingly said when he left, Ng will have hired her own manger and a new voice will lead the squad. 

That individual will inherit the Marlins first ever Cy Young Award Winner Sandy Alcantara.

Ng has been a part of a couple drafts so it will be interesting to see how these prospects develop.

She now has the keys to put her footprint on this franchise and as I mentioned, she came to South Florida with tremendous qualifications.

This past week, the Marlins promoted Caroline O’ Connor to president of business operations, making them the first U.S. major sports franchise to have women serving simultaneously as president and general manager.

O’ Connor is just the second woman to serve as president of a Major League Baseball team; Seattle’s Catie Griggs is the other.

Ng handles the on-field business, O’Connor runs the off field business.

In addition to the hiring of O’Connor, legendary Marlin Jeff Conine rejoined the club as a special assistant to Sherman.

What do all these off-season moves mean?

The Marlins have no problems being pioneers when it comes to making ground breaking hires.

But that’s all fine and dandy, however, the bottom line is the results must show on the field. 

Ng is entering her third year on the job and if the club doesn’t start making significant strides in the next two years then she’ll be under heavy scrutiny.

Furthermore, if she fails, could this be a step backwards for other women trying to get a job as a general manager of a major sports team?

Time will tell. 

But now she has her own manager, not one that she inherited. 

There are no excuses.

I’m sure that the presence of Conine will give her another person she can turn to especially when it comes to making Baseball decisions. 

Conine has won a pair of championships with the Marlins in 1997 and 2003.

There is no reason why this franchise shouldn’t have some success. 

They’re solid in player development and produce a lot of home grown talent.

Let’s not forget that in the 2022 All-Star Game, the Marlins had three players represented,

As a pair of these moves have been made this week, I’ll be interested to see how this team is built which is considered the Hot Stove portion of the off-season.

What will the Marlins roster look like when Spring Training resumes?

I’m looking forward to finding out.

With a new regime in place, I’m sure a lot of people will be looking to see if this team can make it’s way back to the playoffs.

The Marlins snapped a 17-year postseason drought in 2020 under Mattingly and he went on to win the Manager of the Year Award. 

The team won a playoff series versus the Chicago Cubs.

I’m sure Mattingly will enjoy taking a break to see if Ng and Schumaker can take this club to levels had had hoped to knowing the limitations of the market. 

It even remains to be seen whether Mattingly will return to the club in some type of advisory role.

There is no doubt that Ng could use his Baseball mind, but in reality, we know now that she’s under a major microscope and it’s up to her to either sink of swim.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at southfloridatribune@gmail.com and you can follow him on Twitter @TribuneSouth.

Also, you can hear his streaming broadcasts or remote shows by Subscribing to the South Florida Tribune You Tube Channel.

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