As of this writing, the Padres have interviewed eight candidates for their open General Manager job. On Friday, they talked with the most intriguing candidate, who also might be the best fit.
Kim Ng is the Sr. Vice President for Baseball Operations for Major League Baseball. She (yes, she) has also worked as the assistant G.M. for the Yankees and Dodgers. Ng has previously interviewed for the G.M. position with Los Angeles (they went with Ned Colletti, who kept her on his staff), Seattle (who chose Jack Zduriencik), and the Padres (who at the time hired Jed Hoyer).
This time around, the Padres would be wise to take a long look at Ng. Her baseball experience speaks for itself. When she joined the Yankees she became the youngest assistant G.M. is baseball history. She did not get that job because of a publicity stunt.
What sets Ng apart from the other candidates the Friars have talked to are two very important selling points most other candidates cannot offer.
One is her ability to win salary disputes. When Ng was with the White Sox in the mid-90's she became the first woman to argue a salary arbitration case, winning the decision for the team against pitcher Alex Fernandez. A money-conscious team like the Padres needs all the help it can get in trimming payroll.
The other is her schooling. Ng earned her B.A. from the University of Chicago in Public Policy (she also played four years of softball there). That means she is keenly aware of the relationship between the people and professional organizations.
The Padres have had more than a few issues with how they've handled public relations in 2014, from the P.A. Announcer situation to the price and size of beer at Petco Park to the interestingly timed firing of previous G.M. Josh Byrnes.
Ng would be a great sounding board in future situations. She has the ability to be a conduit between the fans and the front office.
Now, no woman has ever been the General Manager of a major professional American sport. But, the Padres have come awfully close.
Former owner Joan Kroc was intimately involved in decisions regarding her team (just ask Jack McKeon what happens when you made a move without consulting Joan).
San Diego is one of the few professional sports towns that will not care about the gender of a General Manager. If Kim Ng can help the Padres win, and all indications are she absolutely can, they would be foolish not to give her a chance.