A conversation developed on Twitter a bit ago that sort of pissed me off. It began just after (a) Bud Black said the Padres would name their new GM in 48 hours; and (b) the San Anotinio Spurs announced that they were hiring a woman as an assistant coach.
I tweeted — more jokingly than anything — that the Padres should hire Kim Ng — who is a candidate — right now and then the NBA and Major League Baseball can turn to the NFL and say “your move.”
This caused a couple of people to respond seriously, saying that the Padres should not be in the business of hiring someone simply for the good press. That came along with the strong implication — and in a couple of responses, the clear statement — that Ng is not qualified to be the Padres general manager and that hiring her would be mere tokenism.
Let me start out by saying that I have no idea if Ng is the best person for the Padres’ GM position. I don’t know the other candidates — which include Yankees assistant general manager Billy Eppler, Rangers assistant general manager A.J. Preller, and Red Sox assistant general manager Mike Hazen — too well. I certainly can’t say I know their resumes as well as I know Ng’s. It’s quite possible that any or all of them are better suited to what San Diego is looking for or a better fit. It’s also possible that Ng isn’t too enamored with leaving her post at MLB to take over what would clearly be a big job of building the Padres into a contender. In short: whoever the Padres hire is their business and there are tons of 100% baseball reasons why Ng may not get the job.
But I will not accept the assertion, because it is 100% counterfactual, that if the Padres did hire Ng it’d be some sort of P.R.-driven/affirmative action/tokenism kind of hire. Ng has held almost every conceivable job in baseball, from arguing arbitration cases to running international academies to coordinating pro scouting. She has spent many, many years in this game and there is zero suggestion that she is not capable. If you are unfamiliar with her resume, here’s a good place to start. That’s three-years-old, by the way and does not include her experience at MLB headquarters.
Again, maybe she’s not the right fit for the Padres, but to the extent people are suggesting that she is unqualified, please, present some information about that. Don’t assert things that are plainly wrong because you’re so utterly convinced that her candidacy is some liberal, p.c. conspiracy.
The Orioles have re-signed outfielder Michael Bourn to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league camp, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.
Bourn, 34, joined the Orioles last year in a trade from the Diamondbacks on August 31. Though he compiled a meager .669 OPS with the Diamondbacks, Bourn hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with the O’s through the end of the season.
Bourn, a non-roster invitee to camp, will try to play his way onto the Orioles’ 25-man roster. If he does make the roster, Bourn will receive a $2 million salary, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports points out.
Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller had about as bad a season as one can have. He was the headliner in the trade that sent 2015 No. 1 overall pick Dansby Swanson, All-Star outfielder Ender Inciarte, and highly-regarded pitching prospect Aaron Blair to the Braves. It was a trade that was pilloried at the time and continues to be pilloried to this day.
Miller didn’t do then-GM Dave Stewart any favors with his 2016 performance. He went 3-12 with a 6.15 ERA and a 70/42 K/BB ratio over 101 innings. That included a bout with mechanical failure, as he kept hitting the mound with his follow-through. He went on the disabled list. And after that, he was demoted to Triple-A. After getting fired, Stewart expressed remorse over acquiring Miller — or, more accurately, giving up Swanson to do so.
So, the 26-year-old Miller heads into 2017 without any momentum. To his credit, though, he’s going into the new season with a very positive perspective. Via Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:
I’m just in a really happy place, away from the field, on the field. […]
Maybe it’s just the way I go about everything, trying to be positive in every single aspect of life. Baseball’s not perfect. I’m not perfect. I know bumps in the road are going to happen. Last year was obviously not just a bump, but a huge mountain. Right now, that’s completely behind me. I’m not worried about any of that.
I’m really ready for this year, ready to redeem myself so much.
Even pitching coach Mike Butcher sees the change in Miller’s mentality. “He’s not a different guy. But you can see there’s a presence in him. That’s what we need. Just be Shelby Miller. You don’t have to live up to anything. Just be yourself.”
Manager Torey Lovullo, too, praised Miller. “I saw a guy who had spent a lot of time taking care of his business in the weight room — he looks fantastic, in fantastic shape,” he said.
It sounds like Miller is not only in great mental shape, but great physical shape, too. Is it the “best shape of his life”? Only time can tell.