Best Hire: Kim Ng
Ng wasted little time making her impact felt as GM.getty images
When the Miami Marlins had an opening atop their baseball operations department last offseason, club CEO Derek Jeter called only one candidate: Kim Ng. The Hall of Fame shortstop emphasized that he reached out to an executive he had gotten to know while both were in the Yankees organization “because it was the best decision for the organization.”
It also proved to be historic. A 30-year baseball lifer, Ng became not only the first woman to become general manager of an MLB organization, but also the first to lead a team in any major North American men’s pro sports league.
Ng, whose hire in the final weeks of 2020 occurred after the winners had been determined for last year’s SBJ awards consideration, wasted little time in her rookie season accelerating the rebuild Jeter and majority owner Bruce Sherman embarked on when they purchased the team in 2017. The Marlins’ 67 wins in 2021 were their most in four years, and Ng has positioned the team for further success. At her first trade deadline she moved outfielders Starling Marte and Adam Duvall and pitchers Yimi Garcia and John Curtiss, and received a bundle of prospects, headlined by lefty starting pitcher Jesús Luzardo and catcher Alex Jackson, both formerly among the top 20 prospects in all of baseball.
Win-improvement for the Marlins over MLB’s last full season in 2019, the second-best in the National League.
Already this offseason Miami has signed free agent outfielder Avisail Garcia, extended ace Sandy Alcantara and traded for infielder Joey Wendle and catcher Jacob Stallings as Ng shepherds the Marlins to the cusp of contention.
Attracting talent and engendering culture throughout the organization is also part of any GM’s job. On that point, Ng can receive no higher compliment than this one from Stan Conte, Marlins senior director of medical services, who worked with Ng while both were with the Dodgers and stepped down from his leadership post there in 2015. Conte told SBJ he joined the Marlins “only because Kim Ng asked me. After 25 years in MLB Medical, I had no desire to return to a full-time position with another team. She was the reason.”
The remarkable outpouring of support upon Ng’s hiring suggests she’ll attract many more talented young women into the sport, too. “Anybody who knows me knows that I have spent countless hours advocating for young girls, advocating for young women and really trying to help them advance their careers,” said Ng, who recently sat on USA Softball’s board of directors. “That’s something that is so important to me. There is an adage: ‘You can’t be it, if you can’t see it.’ I guess I would suggest to them, now you can see it.”