Kim Ng is currently the Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations for MLB and the highest ranking female executive in baseball. And she 100 percent should be considered by the Mets when they begin interviewing for a new GM.
In the wake of Sandy Alderson stepping down in June as GM due to health issues, his current assistants John Ricco and J.P. Ricciardi and advisor Omar Minaya were challenged by ownership to think creatively when it comes to improving the franchise.
It is expected that all three men will be considered to take over as Alderson's permanent replacement.
However, according to multiple sources connected to the team, I'm told ownership is leaning toward hiring a consultant and outside research committee to vet candidates and establish a short list of names, much like the Dodgers and NFL Jets and Giants recently did when in a similar situation.
There have yet to be reports about Ng or anyone else who will be considered by Mets ownership, but she should be based on her background, upbringing and experience in baseball.
Ng is local, having attended grade school in Queens, where she rooted for the Yankees and played stickball on the corner of 173rd Street and 65th Avenue. She and her husband currently live in Lower Manhattan.
She entered MLB as an intern with the White Sox, who hired her full-time in 1991 to be a special projects analyst and later Assistant Director of Baseball Operations. After winning a historic arbitration case for the White Sox against Alex Fernandez, she left Chicago to work for the American League in 1997, where she was Director of Waivers and Records.
In 1998, at just 29 years old, Ng was recruited and hired by Yankees GM Brian Cashman to be his Assistant General Manager, making her the youngest person ever to hold that position. She left the Yankees three years later (with two rings to show for it) to be Vice President and Assistant GM for the Dodgers, whom she temporarily ran during the 2005 MLB Winter Meetings when Paul DePodesta was fired just four weeks earlier.
She interviewed with the Dodgers to be DePodesta's permanent replacement, but was passed over for Ned Colletti, for whom she served as an assistant for six seasons. In addition to being considered by the Dodgers, Ng has interviewed to be GM of the D-backs, Twins, Mariners, Padres, Brewers and Angels.
Since her last interview, she has been ranked among the powerful women in sports by Forbes and Adweek, and one of the most creative people in business -- not just sports -- by Fast Company.
In 2011, Ng left Los Angeles for her current job at MLB, where she reports directly to Joe Torre, with whom she had previously worked with for the Dodgers and Yankees.
"There is no one in the game who could question her ability to be that person. If you debate that, then you have gender issues," said Ng's former colleague, Dan Evans, who currently works for the American League, told ESPN in 2016. "This is a very talented, intelligent person who has won and has been part of three really good organizations. She understands player development, she understands the complexities of the game. There is no doubt in my mind that she has what it takes to perform those responsibilities. All she needs is the opportunity.''
I had the honor of meeting Ng in 2012. She was wearing her patented tinted sunglasses and a stoic face. I found her to be incredibly pointed and focused on her job. The truth is that she's probably been through more scrutiny and back talk during her career than any of her male counterparts and yet she has never allowed that to define her, which I respect.
The same day I met her, I met Torre, who praised his colleague and emphatically pumped up her qualifications and readiness to run a team
"She is a terrific negotiator, great at building relationships. She's very persuasive and very competitive," he explained. "She knows our game inside and out, and at every level."
They may be just two and a half years removed from being in the World Series, but the Mets are very much a team in transition. That also means they have the opportunity to reimagine their franchise and get in line with how the most successful teams in baseball are currently operating.
The current CBA has created a league where teams are either cutting payroll and restocking their farm system or they're going all-in, trading away prospects and signing free agents in an effort to win the World Series title. The teams that try to play in between, like the Mets, are only killing time before eventually needing to choose between one of the above two realities.
There is nothing in this team's history to suggest they will suddenly increase payroll by $100 million to land Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. And even if they did, this would not solve their biggest problem, which is the desperate need for more, better, younger talent ready to produce sooner than later in Citi Field.
"They need to stop trying to be cute and overthinking everything," a former Mets fan, now front-office executive with an NL Central team told me. "Their next President of Baseball Operations has to be someone with a rich background in scouting and player development and, maybe most important, (he or she) has to understand how to time the ascension of talent to the big leagues."
That last qualification refers to having multiple prospects moving from the minors to the major leagues at roughly the same time. This is something the Cubs, Astros, and Yankees have done exceptionally well the past few years.
It seems like just yesterday the Mets had the most promising young talent in the NL East. The quick and sad truth is that they may now have the least, according to most top prospect lists.
In talking with people around the game, the only real knock I've heard on Ng was with her experience in scouting. This is not to say she doesn't know how to evaluate talent, or that she is weak in this area, it's simply how she is perceived around the game. That said, people that know her, worked with her or have interviewed her, all describe her in a similar way, which is being more of a "manager," and, "an operator," who is "highly focused on getting things done."
There's a legit argument to be had about whether the Mets need a fresh face with new ideas, such as Ng, or an experienced, seasoned executive with a track record of success running a big-market franchise, such as, say, Colletti. I'm not yet convinced of how they should go. However, if the Mets decide to go with someone new, Ng should be on their short list of candidates, though they may need to pair her with advisors and assistants that are strong in talent and evidence-based evaluations.
In either case, she's beyond qualified to run the Mets, and possibly the perfect choice given her mental toughness, organizational skills, roots, experience with the game, her time working alongside Torre, and her understanding of this specific market.
"I've certainly accomplished quite a bit," Ng told NJ Monthly earlier this year. "I would say that my career would be absolutely complete if I were to ever get the chance (to be a GM)."
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!