Maybe the solution to the Yankees' problems was never "firing" Brian Cashman. Maybe it was promoting him ... to a ceremonial chair, where he could sit up high, point down at things, criticize them, and get nodded at until he went to sleep.
While it still feels pie-in-the-sky to hope for real front office changes -- beyond the promotion of Nick Swisher, of course -- an old Cashman lieutenant made herself available on Monday, sparking a minor frenzy of speculation across MLB.
It likely depends on just how many egos were checked at the door of Hal Steinbrenner's Florida brouhaha, but if the Yankees are smart, they weaseled their way into Kim Ng's office weeks ago to have a frank conversation about a succession plan in the Bronx.
News dropped early Monday morning that Ng and the playoff-participating Marlins had "parted ways." The team later clarified that Ng had declined a mutual option on her contract after Miami ownership had attempted to exercise their team option for her to return in 2024.
It remains unclear whether Ng turned down her side of the mutual option because she has been pursuing a different opportunity, or whether she declined because they disrespected her great work with a paltry one-year offer. Either way, the Yankees will regret not taking advantage of this window opening.
Kim Ng leaves Marlins, Yankees should make her Brian Cashman's successor
If the Yankees don't feel like moving on from Cashman this offseason, perhaps this sets them up to take a run at Ng after the former Marlins GM takes a one-or-two-year breather?
We're operating purely on dream logic here, and still can't be sure what motivated her departure from Miami. She could have a trick up her sleeve, and reveal it this week. But if she's just stinging from not being given more security after turning the Marlins around, this could be a perfect time to get in her ear about a five-year plan. The 2023 Marlins were perfectly supplemented by Ng's deadline moves; Jake Burger and Josh Bell were the two strongest offensive performers who changed hands this summer, and she nabbed both of them. No one expected the Marlins to compete this past season, but she uncovered an excellent young manager in Skip Schumaker, who got the best of his talent (and sterling rotation), Sure, the Marlins were unreasonably excellent in one-run games, but some of that came from a change in their DNA. As they started to believe more and more in themselves as the season dragged on, it became a self-perpetuating cycle of success in crunch time (just ask Clay Holmes).
Ng was, once upon a time, Cashman's right hand, serving as the Yankees' assistant general manager from 1998-2001. She is just 54 years old; there is plenty more time for her to make her mark in MLB.
Of course, this spark of joy will be extinguished before the end of the week. Ng is probably already in conversations to lead the Red Sox. It would only be natural that, after all Boston's preferred options reportedly turned them down due to accurately perceived organizational instability, they lucked into a better GM than any of their dismissed 40-something white guys. But, for now, there's something to dream on, as well as family ties connecting her back to the Bronx.