Good Luck, Kim Ng (Updated)

I woke up this morning to see that there’d been some major news overnight: assistant GM Kim Ng is leaving the team to become Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations for MLB, where she’ll be reporting directly to Joe Torre.

This is, of course, a major blow to the Dodgers, as Ng had long been one of the most respected executives in the game and revered for her success both in the arbitration room and in keeping players out of it.

I’ve already seen people claiming that her departure is to be blamed on the McCourts, and this piece from Bill Madden in the New York Daily News doesn’t exactly say otherwise:

Although much was made of Torre’s hiring  by commissioner Bud Selig on Feb. 26 at a reported salary of $2 million, all the changes within operations were said to be in the works before he came aboard. Of the new people, only Ng had ever worked with Torre before and, like him, she was eager to flee what has become a Dodger cuckoo’s nest under battling owners Frank and Jamie McCourt, who are in the midst of increasingly messy divorce proceedings.

Now you know I’m happy to blame anything from a rainy day to bad traffic on the McCourts, and maybe that is indeed part of the reason she left, but that’s not completely the feeling I’m getting here. There’s been a lot of front office departures in recent years, but many of those were either terminations or people who left without a clear destination. Ng’s becoming the SVP of Baseball Ops for MLB, and that’s hardly a step down from assistant GM. The truth is, we don’t know yet. She’d been with the Dodgers for nearly ten years, so perhaps she was looking for a new challenge, and she’s originally from the NYC area, so perhaps the chance to return home was appealing. I’m not ready to pin this on the McCourts just yet, though I will say that Torre raiding his old club doesn’t actually improve my opinion of him any better.

Either way, it’s a big loss for the Dodgers, who will have a big hole to fill with Ng’s departure. I suppose it also avoids what was sure to be an entertaining discussion over whether Ng or Logan White should be GM, assuming both were still around when and if Ned Colletti’s tenure ends. Logan, you’re on the clock. And best of luck to Ng at MLB.

Update: Bill Shaikin has more on Ng’s decision to leave.

“It was something of interest to me,” she said. “I finally came to the conclusion it was just a fantastic opportunity I couldn’t let pass by.”

She denied that the Dodgers’ current ownership turmoil — and the possibility that the divorce of Frank and Jamie McCourt ultimately could result in new ownership — played a role in her decision to leave the club.

“I have a chance to help Joe and help the commissioner change policy and impact the game in a meaningful way,” Ng said. “That really wasn’t part of this. Frank has been very good to me. Ned (Colletti, the Dodgers’ general manager) has been very good to me.

“This was an extremely difficult decision for me. I’ve been with this organization for almost half my career. That was a big factor. I just walked in the door with Sandy Koufax. That is one of the things I will miss.”

Shaikin also notes that she’ll remain with the Dodgers for the rest of the month before heading to New York City to start the new gig.

******

Results from the Jerry Sands poll yesterday: 39.4% think he’ll make his debut in July or later, followed by 27.7% in June. 10.2% actually think he’d be on the Opening Day roster, which I can’t see happening in any reality. I didn’t vote, but if I had, I’d probably have chosen June.

******

Sands may not have any shot of making the Opening Day roster, but one longshot I’m still pulling for is Xavier Paul, who I’m still not convinced wouldn’t be more productive than Jay Gibbons, Tony Gwynn, or both. Paul got off to a slow start this spring, whiffing 8 times in 17 PA, before going deep late in yesterday’s game against Matt Belisle. Tony Jackson has more on Paul, who admitted he’d been pressing and does not want to leave the Dodgers. Right now, his only chance of sticking around looks to be if injuries pile up, and while that still doesn’t give him great odds, Gibbons, Marcus Thames, Jamey Carroll, and James Loney have all had minor concerns this spring, so it’s not completely out of the question.

******

Howard at Baseball Savvy has been doing interviews with several Dodger bloggers, starting with Roberto at Vin Scully is My Home Boy and Eric at TrueBlueLA, and recently I answered some questions for him as well. It’s an interesting series, getting a little deeper into the writing process.

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