John Tomase

Kim Ng a new name worth monitoring in Red Sox GM search

The talented Marlins GM boasts experience that Chaim Bloom lacked.

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Unexpected news out of Miami means the Red Sox can add an intriguing name to the list of potential Chaim Bloom replacements: Kim Ng.

The trailblazing Marlins general manager is in the final year of her contract, the Miami Herald reported, which makes her a potential free agent next month.

Her experience alone should land her on Boston's radar, but she has a compelling story to tell, too. She made history in 2020 when the Marlins promoted her to GM, becoming the first woman to run a men's team in any of the four major sports.

With big-market experience in New York and Los Angeles, a stint in the commissioner's office, and now three seasons helming the Marlins as they've transformed from a 67-win club in 2021 to one that's only a half game out of the final wild card spot in the National League, the 54-year-old could step right in with a minimal learning curve.

That's attractive to a Red Sox club that just finished four tumultuous seasons under Bloom, who will leave his successor a strong farm system and clean balance sheet, but who needed more seasoning, in retrospect, before filling the big chair.

What makes Ng's Marlins tenure particularly noteworthy is how effective she has been since Hall of Famer Derek Jeter sold his stake in the team. Jeter had brought a number of former Yankees executives to Miami, including Ng and scouting director Gary Denbo, but the team didn't become hers until Jeter left and then Denbo was fired last year. (You can read about more of the history at MLB Trade Rumors.)

Blessed with an envious collection of young, cost-controlled starting pitchers, she prioritized improving the team's offense and swung a huge trade in January with the Twins for reigning American League batting champ Luis Arraez.

The cost was right-hander Pablo Lopez, who made the All-Star team this summer and is 10-8 with a 3.58 ERA in 30 starts while battling Toronto's Kevin Gausman for the AL strikeout lead.

Those are the kind of numbers many GMs would regret trading away, but it's safe to say Ng has no reason to doubt her decision, because Arraez spent half the summer flirting with a .400 average and is still hitting a league-leading .354. He is by far the best hitter on the Marlins, and the heart and soul of their offense, and it speaks to Ng's assertiveness that she acquired him for a pitcher not only with Lopez's potential, but his affordability, too. He made just $5.45 million this year before signing a $73.5 million extension that kicks in next year.

Given the need for Bloom's replacement to be more aggressive filling holes on the big league roster -- especially with the system featuring so many players up the middle who can't all possibly play in Boston -- it reflects well on Ng that she utilized an organizational surplus to acquire one of the best hitters in baseball for a piece that Bloom probably wouldn't have been able to bring himself to deal. Meanwhile, Miami's rotation remains young, cheap, and talented, with the top five starters all between the ages of 20 and 27.

Another mark in her favor is her performance at the trade deadline. Whereas Bloom basically did nothing last month, Ng made a trio of aggressive pickups, adding closer David Robertson from the Mets, slugging first baseman Josh Bell from the Guardians, and scoring one of the most impactful players to change teams in White Sox third baseman Jake Burger.

While Robertson has disappointed (6.23 ERA), Bell has hit nearly as many homers in 44 games with the Marlins (nine) as he did in 97 with the Guardians (11), while Burger has posted a .310-8-24-.889 line that includes two game-winning hits in the last week alone.

Bloom might still be employed if he had acted more decisively at either of the last two deadlines, which fed the perception that he couldn't act under pressure. Ng, with considerably more experience, does not have that baggage. It's fitting that, according to reports last month, she believed she had swung a deal for Red Sox DH Justin Turner that didn't quite make it over the finish line.

If Ng were to land in a major market like Boston, it would be the culmination of a lengthy journey. A former softball player at the University of Chicago, she began as an analyst with the White Sox in 1991 before her career took off in earnest under Yankees general manager Brian Cashman in 1998.

She served as assistant GM in New York during a run of three straight World Series championships before moving to the Dodgers as assistant GM in 2001, spending the next decade as one of L.A.'s key decision makers and interviewing for numerous GM openings.

She joined the commissioner's office in 2011 as senior vice president of baseball operations and worked closely with commissioner Rob Manfred, who was thrilled when she finally got her shot in 2020 with Miami.

It's hard to imagine he'd mind seeing her come to Boston, where she'd be hailed as an historic hire. Her gender helped make her a pioneer, but with more than 30 years in the big leagues, it's her experience and track record that should appeal to the Red Sox.

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