By Gregg Bell
The Associated Press
SEATTLE (AP) — The Mariners are the first Major League Baseball team to lose 100 games with a $100 million payroll may lose more this winter. On top of all else the AL’s worst team must do, it should install a revolving door for a possible exodus of veterans.
None of this will be officially decided until the new GM arrives. That’s why Mariners President Chuck Armstrong was on the phone with MLB Commissioner Bud Selig informing him of the team’s plan: a new general manager by the end of October to replace Bill Bavasi, who was fired in June, and his stand-in, Lee Pelekoudas.
There is the possibility of Seattle hiring the first female general manager in major league history.
Highly regarded Los Angeles Dodgers assistant GM Kim Ng is considered an option.
“It’s fair to say it’s an extremely important decision,” said Mariners Chief Executive Howard Lincoln, who will make the choice with Armstrong on behalf of the team’s titular head, Japanese tycoon Hiroshi Yamauchi. “We’ve got to get it right.”
“It’s time for some fresh thinking,” Armstrong said at the end of his 23rd season with the team — what he called his worst and most “miserable” one.
“We’re color blind, gender blind,” he went on to say. “We just want the best person that we think would be the best person for the Mariners as we move forward,” Armstrong said.
Ng is an American baseball executive for the Major League Baseball Los Angeles Dodgers organization. She was the youngest person, and first woman, to present a salary arbitration case in the major leagues when she worked for the Chicago White Sox, regarding the case of pitcher Alex Fernandez.
In 1997, she was hired by the New York Yankees as assistant general manager, which made her youngest in the major leagues, at age 29. She joined the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2001 as assistant GM.
Before joining the New York Yankees, she was in the offices of the American League, where she was director of waivers and records, approving all transactions. She began her career as a special projects analyst with the Chicago White Sox after graduating from the University of Chicago.
In November 2003, she was involved in an incident when New York Mets special assistant to the general manager Bill Singer mocked her ethnic Chinese background. (Her father was U.S.-born of Chinese descent and mother Thailand-born of Chinese descent.) Singer was dismissed for his remarks on Nov. 18, 2003.
In 2005, Ng was interviewed for the vacant position of Dodgers general manager. No female has ever been a GM in any major sport, and she is believed to be the first female ever to even interview for a baseball GM position. The Dodgers hired Ned Colletti as their GM, who immediately kept Ng on as his assistant. ♦
Stacy Nguyen contributed to this report.