The Miami Marlins decided to hire a President of Baseball Operations instead of retaining General Manager Kim Ng, despite her instrumental role in constructing a playoff-caliber team this year, according to sources cited by ESPN.
Ng, aged 54, was the highest-ranking woman in the front office of a prominent North American men’s professional sports team. She was appointed as the Marlins’ General Manager in November 2020, becoming the first female GM in the MLB, NFL, NBA, or NHL. Her contract had a mutual option for 2024. Marlins owner Bruce Sherman stated that the team exercised its part of the option, but Ng declined to do the same.
“Last week, Bruce and I discussed his plan to reshape the baseball operations department. In our discussions, it became apparent that we were not completely aligned on what that should look like,” Ng told The Athletic on Monday. “I felt it best to step away. I wish to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to the Marlins family and its fans for my time in South Florida. This year was a great step forward for the organization.”
The Miami Marlins’ decision to prioritize the hiring of someone else over Kim Ng to lead baseball operations came as a surprise to fellow executives in the baseball community. Ng’s remarkable work with the 2023 Marlins was widely praised. Her strategic moves, such as acquiring third baseman Jake Burger and first baseman Josh Bell at the trade deadline, significantly strengthened the team’s offense and played a pivotal role in the Marlins finishing the season with an 84-78 record, securing the final wild-card spot in the National League.
Despite the team having a considerable minus-57 run differential, the largest ever for a playoff-bound team, the Marlins showed significant improvement, winning 15 more games than the previous season. This progress followed Ng’s appointment of manager Skip Schumaker, who is under contract for 2024 with a team option for 2025. The Marlins’ playoff appearance, although they were swept by the Philadelphia Phillies in the wild-card round, marked the team’s first full-season playoff berth since 2003.
Kim Ng navigated through significant upheaval during her three-year tenure with the Marlins. In February 2022, Hall of Famer Derek Jeter resigned as the CEO of the Marlins due to disagreements with owner Bruce Sherman regarding the franchise’s direction. Four months later, the Marlins dismissed vice president of player development and scouting Gary Denbo, who had experienced internal conflicts.
Under Ng’s leadership, the Marlins made substantial strides. Left-hander Jesus Luzardo, acquired at the 2021 trade deadline, developed into a dependable starter in his first full season with Miami. Rookie Eury Perez, who made his debut at just 20 years old this year, was a revelation. Despite the challenges faced by reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara, who recently underwent Tommy John surgery, the Marlins’ starting pitching emerged as a strength.
While the offense still faced difficulties, second baseman Luis Arraez provided a significant boost. After being acquired in an offseason trade for right-hander Pablo Lopez, Arraez claimed the NL batting title with a .354 average.
Although the Marlins’ free-agent signings of third baseman Jean Segura and first baseman Yuli Gurriel did not yield the expected results, their replacements, Jake Burger and Josh Bell, played key roles in helping the team secure the final NL wild-card spot in a fiercely contested race. Burger performed impressively, with a .303/.355/.505 batting line and nine home runs in 53 games, while Bell contributed with a .270/.338/.480 batting line and 11 home runs. Burger is under team control for five more seasons, and Bell has another year, although he does have an opt-out this winter.