Ng sees GM chance as great honor
Asst. GM treasures postseason experiences, another run
Dodgers vice president and assistant general manager Kim Ng interacted with fans in an online chat Tuesday. Ng and fans discussed the team's chances of making the postseason, movement in the offseason and what it would mean to become the first female general manager in the Major Leagues.
NG: Thank you for taking part in the chat. Let's get started.
TrueBlue42: What is the status on Nomar [Garciaparra] and when will he be activated?
NG: He'll be activated today. He'll be available to Grady [Little] off the bench. We're probably not going to push it real hard at the beginning but he's got to get back into the swing of things.
snats: Kim, I had the very pleasant opportunity of meeting you in Spring Training. Is Justin Orenduff still considered a prospect and does he, along with James McDonald, have a chance to be on the 2008 40-man roster?
NG: I would say that Justin is still a prospect. He had a nice year at [Double-A] Jacksonville this year. We were very pleased about the way he came back from surgery and both he and McDonald have a definite chance of being put on the roster.
kamiboy: Being a Dodgers fan for a long time now, I think the team is still one or two players away from having the complete puzzle. Will the Dodgers be making a sweet deal to complete that puzzle?
NG: This offseason, we're going to be looking at all the different options and permutations on how to make the club better. Our mission statement is to be searching under every stone and scouring the waiver wire and keeping the lines of communication open with all the clubs. We have also done extensive work on the potential free agent class coming up this offseason and we have our entire scouting staff out there watching big league games in hopes of securing more talent.
orang3: Who will the Dodgers pursue from the free agency market during the offseason?
NG: We can't really talk about that publicly because if we did, it would be in violation of Major League rules regarding tampering. Even if we could discuss it, we wouldn't necessarily want to give out those names publicly and give our competitors an advantage over us in who we're pursuing.
bluebleeder1977: When upper management decides to bring up a guy like Matt Kemp, (who still needed some polishing) is it a collective decision or does the responsibility fall to just one person?
NG: I think it falls to one person, which is obviously Ned, but he seeks advice and input from a number of different people. It would be people like our farm director, DeJon Watson, myself, the manager and appropriate coach from the level that the player is playing at, and then the appropriate coordinator (like the pitching coordinator, hitting coordinator). We also talk to the big league staff who has seen the player in Spring Training.
wrisp: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today. First, you've done a great job with the Dodgers, and I am looking forward to the day you assume a GM position even if it isn't here. Is that an important goal for you? And if so, which organization?
NG: At this point, whichever organization asks for permission to interview me, I'd have to take that. These opportunities don't grow on trees and there are only 29 other spots out there. But it's definitely something that I strive for and the more I work in this industry, the more I realize that it's a possibility that it could happen someday.
scalino: In your six seasons with the team, what has been your proudest accomplishment to date?
NG: It's hard to limit it to just one moment, but making it to the playoffs in '04 and '06 would be it. I've been fortunate to have been in the postseason in seven of my 16 years in baseball and gone to the World Series four times and I understand the hard work that it takes on a daily basis to achieve that ultimate goal. Just to get to the playoffs in itself is tremendous and I treasure each time that I've been with a club that's been able to get there because these opportunities don't come around that often.
TrueBlue42: If the Dodgers don't make the postseason this year, will you view this season as a failure?
NG: At the beginning of each year, you have expectations and whatever team you run out there in Spring Training, there is no guarantee that you're going to get to the postseason. Coming out of Spring Training, that was the most important goal for us. Along the way, you know you're going to run into things like injuries that always happen. The most important thing is that you have to try and be prepared for things of that nature. At the end of Spring Training, we thought we were 17 pitchers deep if you think about a 12-man pitching staff. Obviously you see that even when you think you have 17 or 18 pitchers available to you, the length and the grueling nature of the season have shown us that even those 18 you have can be decimated. But to still be in the hunt beyond Sept. 4 speaks volumes about what Ned's put together here. We've lost three-fifths of our rotation and some of our veteran players have not played as we thought they would, but at the same time, some of our younger players have been given an opportunity and risen to the occasion. Through that, we see this as the future of the Dodgers and while we may or may not make it to the postseason this year, we see a lot of the foundation that's there for us to make it to the postseason each year in the future.
letzgostem: Of the "five tools" which would you say is the hardest to come by, or see potential for, in a young player?
NG: Power, because it has to do with a player's strength. Based on the way we've drafted over the last five or six years, players don't fully mature physically until their mid- to late-20s, so you really have to project on the power.
garv4hall: Good afternoon. What would it mean to you to be the first female GM in baseball?
NG: I think it would be a tremendous honor. I hope that it comes at some point, if not for me then for somebody else because I do think it's important in this day and age that people be given an opportunity. I also think we see women becoming more and more visible in the workplace and in world affairs. We have women running for president, so I don't think it's far-fetched that a woman become a general manager in baseball and if it is me, it would be a tremendous honor.
knight7788: The New York Yankees signed an agreement with the Chinese Baseball Association earlier this year in a bid to boost baseball in the world's most populous country. Do the Dodgers have similar plans to exposing the game and the Dodgers to this opportunity?
NG: One thing I am very proud of in working for the Dodgers is that we have been pioneers in many different fronts, especially overseas. We were the first to have a Major League Japanese player in Hideo Nomo, a Korean in Chan Ho Park and Taiwanese player in Chin-Feng Chen. We have been and are currently laying the groundwork in China in hopes of procuring and developing talent there. We were the first team to have an Asian Operations Department, headed up by Acey Kohrogi and he and his staff do a great job.
wrisp: What is the arbitration room like? Is that a part of the job you enjoy, or is it something you do just because it is part of your job and you are good at it? (And thank you for being so good at it, by the way...)
NG: The arbitration room can be tense. Arbitration is a process that we have in baseball, but for me and for the Dodgers, it's a last resort. We never want to go through a process that most likely is going to cause animosity because we do view ourselves and the players and field staff as one big group. But, as in all jobs, there are things that we have to do that we don't necessarily like to do. If we can't come to an agreement with a player and his agent, this is a process to resolve those situations.
5quakesRc: I play for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes and hope to play for the Dodgers one day. How did you start out? Who gave you this job? Was it hard doing what you do in the beginning?
NG: I started in 1990 as an intern for the Chicago White Sox and after four months, they hired me full time. I was one of the very fortunate ones to have to go through only one internship. I know of a lot of people who have gone through four, five or six and that's a testament to 1) the perseverance people show to get into this industry and 2) how hard this industry is to get into. It's incredibly competitive and unfortunately there aren't as many jobs as there are competent and hard working people. I would just take each day as one that you can impress someone.
scalino: What do you expect from [Esteban] Loaiza? He pitched better than I expected in his first start for us!
NG: His last three starts, he went at least seven innings and gave up three or fewer runs. I'm not saying that's an expectation, but hopefully he can keep doing that for us. At this point, what we are looking for is someone to get us into at least the sixth inning and hopefully later. He's proven over the last six years or so that he's an innings eater and that he'll help to save the bullpen for situations that are important and he's got postseason experience, which we hope to see in October.
gusgus03: Hi, Kim. I am one of your biggest fans. I have watched the Dodgers go from first place to almost last place in our division. Are the Dodgers going to have to depend on the Wild Card now or do you think they have a chance of winning the division?
NG: Thank you very much. Anything can happen. People talked about the Yankees being done in May and there are so many stories about clubs coming back. You have to keep the faith. We have added [Esteban] Loaiza in the last week and we're going to play almost exclusively against our division in the last month. The rest of our schedule after Chicago is all in our division and we can make up a lot of ground. I personally love the unbalanced schedule because it can sway a race, big time, at the end. So like I said, keep the faith! Thank you all for being a part of this and for supporting the Dodgers throughout the year. You guys are a tremendous part of what we do and we are always trying to do the best for our fans.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.