Kim Ng, the senior vice president of baseball operations at MLB’s central offices, will interview for the Phillies’ GM vacancy, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports in his latest Inside Baseball column. Ng, who has previously interviewed with the Dodgers, Angels, Mariners and Padres, still hopes to become the first female general manager of a team. (She has previously worked in several front offices as well.) Her pursuit of the Phillies’ job brings up the issue of diversity among front office execs and managers, Heyman notes, and commissioner Rob Manfred discussed with Heyman some steps the league could take to increase the hiring of minority candidates for such roles. Manfred places a good deal of blame on his own office, telling Heyman, “I am concerned that we at Central Baseball have to do a better job.” Manfred emphasized a need to better prepare minority candidates and to encourage the hiring of such candidates for entry-level positions, so as to deepen the pool of minority candidates from which MLB clubs can select.
Some highlights from Heyman’s weekly piece…
- The Diamondbacks plan to exercise Brad Ziegler’s $5.5MM option — an expected outcome considering questions throughout the team’s bullpen and the strong numbers that the side-arming Ziegler posted this season. Arizona will focus on adding starting pitching this offseason, though young arms Robbie Ray and Rubby De La Rosa have positioned themselves well to join Patrick Corbin in the rotation.
- The Braves will be eyeing pitching upgrades and catching help this winter, and re-signing A.J. Pierzynski will be one option. Heyman also lists a run at Georgia native Matt Wieters as a possibility. I’d expect Wieters to receive and reject a qualifying offer, though Heyman notes that no decision has been made on Wieters’ QO situation just yet.
- The Cubs are expected to pursue top starting pitchers such as David Price and Jordan Zimmermann, but they’ll also attempt to work out a long-term deal with Jake Arrieta, whose dominant second half and Wild Card performance have thrust him into the national spotlight. As a Scott Boras client, however, it could be difficult for the two sides to come to any sort of agreement. Arrieta is controlled through 2017.
- A big left-handed bat will be a priority for the Angels this winter, and they’ll be hoping to add at second base and third base, specifically. As for David Murphy’s $7MM club option, Heyman notes that the team might want to put those resources toward a more impactful bat.
- Clayton Kershaw turned down a $300MM contract offer a few months before signing his seven-year, $215MM extension that featured an opt-out clause after the fifth season, per Heyman. While that’s a shocking number to reject, we also don’t know the length of said deal or the amount of deferred money it contained. Sticking with the Dodgers, the CBS scribe adds that Zack Greinke will exercise his own opt-out clause this winter. That was a foregone conclusion, though Heyman notes that Greinke is said to have enjoyed the L.A. clubhouse much more this season, so his chances of re-signing may be better than previously expected.
- Once they hire a manager to replace Dan Jennings, the Marlins’ first order of business will be to pursue an extension with All-Star second baseman Dee Gordon. The 27-year-old led the Majors in hits and stolen bases in his first year with the Marlins. A client of the Beverly Hills Spots Council, Gordon is currently controlled through the 2018 season. He earned $2.5MM in 2015 after avoiding arbitration for the first time as a Super Two player last offseason.
- The Giants are planning on picking up Nori Aoki’s $5.5MM club option. Considering the $700K buyout attached to the deal, it’s essentially a $4.8MM decision for the Giants, making it seem like a fairly easy call. San Francisco also plans to pursue top-of-the-market arms like Price and Greinke.