GM Candidate: Kim Ng

MLBTR’s list of general manager candidates introduced 20 people who were identified by their peers as potential Major League GMs. We’ve been bringing you closer to the candidates with a series of pieces. Today the series continues with Kim Ng, a senior VP in MLB’s baseball operations department.  

Few baseball people will be surprised if Kim Ng becomes the game’s first female GM. The longtime executive has interviewed for multiple GM jobs in the past, most recently with the Angels. Now a senior VP for baseball operations in the commissioner’s office, Ng became an assistant GM with the Yankees and Dodgers after breaking in to the game with the White Sox. 

“I was definitely one of the lucky ones who didn’t have to do 12 internships to get a full-time job,” she says.

After working with the White Sox, she spent a year in the office of the American League as the director of waivers and records. Ng has since worked in player development and watches games constantly during the season, but she’s known as a rules and arbitration specialist. I spoke with her at last month's GM Meetings; here are some highlights from the conversation:

On her time in the American League office:

I really got a hard look and a good look at the rules and how you apply them and tried to figure out ways around them to find loopholes if they existed. I was applying rules for probably eight of the 14 American League clubs, so the rules really got ingrained in me.

On becoming involved in subjective analysis:

With the Yankees, I did a lot of statistical research, helped Brian [Cashman] with trades, helped him with arbitration — typical assistant GM duties. I managed to get some great experience with the Dodgers. I was the interim farm director one year, I headed up the pro scouting effort and was very active in a lot of things I’m known for like rules, roster management and arbitration. My experience got broader and deeper with the Dodgers.

On the balance between scouting and player development and the analytical side of the game:

I apply a balanced approach. For any of us to say that we think strictly off of numbers — that’s hard to do. And I think in today’s game you don’t go off of scouting alone. It is a mix and I think how you weigh it is what differentiates all of us. 

When I did pro scouting coordination, I was talking to scouts every day and getting their takes, how they look at things, what they’re looking for. Then you apply that and see what you think of people. Over the course of 20 years you see how many games? Twenty times 162 — that’s a lot of games. Most of us log everything away: what you thought of the player at the time, over the years how it differed, why he didn’t end up the way you thought he would.

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