By: TJ Hartnett
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
A few years ago, I wrote a story about Augusta National allowing women to play golf at their club. I pointed out that the mere fact that it was news that women were breaking new ground in the 21st century was shameful in and of itself. Not that the move wasn’t important or newsworthy, because it was, just that it was ridiculous how late in the game (no pun intended) that the rule was being changed.
In a similar – but also distinct – manner, the Miami Marlins made the historic move to hire the first female General Manager in Major League Baseball history: Kim Ng.
Not for nothing, she will also be the first Asian-American GM and the first female GM in any of the four major North American Sports.
Ng comes to the gig with 30 years of high-level experience in the league, including the last nine as Major League Baseball’s senior vice president of baseball operations.
Before that, she spent 21 years in the front offices of the Chicago White Sox, the New York Yankees, and the Los Angeles Dodgers, showing up to be GM Brian Cashman’s right-hand woman in New York at the start of their World Series three-peat from 1998-2000.
At the time she was the youngest assistant GM in the league at just 29 years old and only the second woman to be hired to that gig.
In short, she is supremely qualified (the kind of qualifications that, let’s not kid ourselves, would have gotten her hired 10 years ago if she’d been a man), and while likely not the first woman that’s capable of handling the job, Derek Jeter and the Marlins have made her the first to rise to the top.
But with all that said, she’s got work to do. Ng is inheriting a Marlins team that made the postseason for just the third time in history on the backs of an incredibly young and gifted pitching rotation.
All eyes will be on her to solidify their position as a playoff team in a division populated by a Braves team that will be expected to repeat, Nationals & Phillies teams that will one day figure out what to do with their talent, and a Mets team with a new owner who will want to make a splash, and soon.
In the face of all that, it makes sense that Ng might want to make a splash of her own.
Incidentally, the Cleveland Indians have made it known that All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor is on the market.
Ng and the Marlins have a farm system ready to be utilized, and Lindor is just the kind of franchise player that Miami has lacked since JT Realmuto was shipped off to Philadelphia.
Getting Lindor would be a no-brainer acquisition for any team. He’s been the best shortstop in baseball since his rookie season in 2015, even with his underproductive (for him) 2020 campaign.
The best part is – as Lindor is a free agent after 2021 – the Indians’ asking price would have to be (somewhat) reasonable.
Whether or not Ng could extend the shortstop is a whole different conversation, but the appeal of being able to trade for such a marquee name for only a handful of prospects and only one or two top-tier ones would be hard to resist.
Would Lindor put the Marlins over the top in the NL East? Absolutely not.
They’ve got too many holes in their lineup and bullpen for one elite player to change the entire future of the team, even one that made the playoffs last season.
But the positive spotlight is on the Marlins for once and going after Mr. Smile will keep it there.