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.
Bud Norris has found a home for his attempt at a bounceback season, signing a one-year deal with the Braves. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com says it’s worth $2.5 million, which is a huge cut from his $8.8 million salary this year.
Norris had established himself as a solid mid-rotation starter from 2009-2014, but had a brutal 2015 season split between the Orioles and Padres with a 6.72 ERA in 83 innings and a late-season move to the bullpen.
In announcing the signing the Braves referred to Norris as a starting pitcher, so joining the rotation for a rebuilding team gives him a chance to get his career back on track with an eye on hitting the open market as a free agent again next offseason. And if he fares well, the Braves could use him to add a prospect or two at the trade deadline.
The number of people who, if you held a gun to their head, would say that “Rex Brothers” was a game show host and/or local TV news personality from the late 1970s or early 80s is not insignificant. But if you’re a Rockies fan or if spend all day thinking about baseball you know that he’s a reliever who has played in Colorado for the past five years. Now you know him as a reliever for the Cubs:
Brothers — a former Best Shape of His Life All-Star — was pretty good until he hit a brick wall in 2014 and spent most of 2015 in Triple-A. He had something of a bounceback after being called up when rosters expanded in September, but that’s not the sort of thing to excite anyone. He could be useful for the Cubs or just spring training cannon fodder and organizational depth.
Cabrera just turned 18 a couple of weeks ago and pitched a grand total of 14 games in the Dominican Summer League. He’s young and was a $250,000 signee from the Dominican as a 16-year-old so, by definition, he’s a project. Worth giving up Rex Brothers for him if you’re the Rockies, worth risking for some depth in the pen if you’re the Cubs.
Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks’ new hitting coach is Dave Magadan, who “parted ways” with the Rangers last month after three years filling the same role in Texas.
Magadan also previously was the Red Sox’s hitting coach and his teams have generally done pretty well, including the Rangers scoring the third-most runs in the league this year.
He’ll have plenty of talent to work with in Arizona, as the Diamondbacks scored the second-most runs in the league led by Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, and David Peralta. Turner Ward, who had been Arizona’s hitting coach, chose to leave the team two weeks ago.
Jed Lowrie, who was traded from the Astros to the A’s in 2013 and then re-signed with the Astros as a free agent last offseason, has now been traded back to the A’s.
Lowrie got a three-year, $23 million deal from the Astros with the idea that he’d play shortstop in the first season and then move to another position whenever stud prospect Carlos Correa arrived. Instead he got hurt right away, Correa became an immediate star, and the Astros weren’t so keen on paying him $15 million over the next two seasons.
He could resume playing shortstop for the A’s, who watched rookie Marcus Semien make an absurd number of errors there this year. Lowrie hit .271 with a .738 OPS in two seasons in Oakland, which is similar to his career totals and makes him a solidly above-average offensive shortstop. There’s a decent chance the A’s will have a Lowrie-Lawrie double-play duo in 2016.
In return the Astros get minor leaguer Brendan McCurry, a 24-year-old right-hander who split 2015 between high Single-A and Double-A with a 1.86 ERA and 82/17 K/BB ratio in 63 relief innings. He was a 22nd-round draft pick in 2014 and doesn’t have exceptional raw stuff, but McCurry’s numbers are incredible so far.