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March 15, 2004 12:00 am

Prospectus Today: More Job Battles

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Joe Sheehan

The Cards' decision to make Albert Pujols the everyday first baseman opened a hole in left field, and no matter who stands out there on April 5, it's going to be hard to argue that it's been filled. None of the candidates for the platoon--and it will almost certainly be a platoon--has anything resembling a track record of success. Kerry Robinson and So Taguchi are fifth outfielders who bring defense and some speed and little else. Mark Quinn and Ray Lankford combined for 76 major-league at-bats in 2003. Emil Brown hasn't played in the majors since 2001, but he's 8-for-14 with two homers so far, so he's in the mix. I don't think there's an acceptable solution here.

Cardinals' second-base and left-field jobs

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November 18, 2003 12:00 am

Prospectus Q&A: Kim Ng

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Jonah Keri

Kim Ng started her baseball career straight out of the University of Chicago as an intern for the Chicago White Sox. After rising to take over arbitration duties with the Sox, she took a job with the AL league office. Ng then spent four years with the New York Yankees as an assistant GM, where at age 29 she was the youngest in that position in baseball when hired. After completing her second year as vice president and assistant GM for the Los Angeles Dodgers, she's now one of only two women to hold such a position in baseball operations and the highest-ranking Asian-American executive in the majors. She was mentioned as a candidate for several GM jobs this off-season. Ng recently chatted with BP about learning the business, taking lessons from different mentors, and what it takes to succeed in baseball.

Baseball Prospectus: How did you first get your foot in the door with the White Sox?

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May 3, 2003 12:00 am

Behind the Mask Q&A

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Jason Grady

Jim Evans broke into Major League Baseball in 1972 as the youngest umpire ever at age 23. His career spanned 28 seasons, including 18 as a crew chief. He umpired four World Series, eight League Championship Series, three All-Star games, and was the plate umpire for Nolan Ryan's first no-hitter. Currently, Jim is the owner and chief instructor of the leading professional umpire-training academy, the Jim Evans Academy of Professional Umpiring, founded in 1989. He recently chatted with BP about his career in the bigs, the intricacies of the rule book, and a few dustups with ornery managers.

Baseball Prospectus: How did you get started as an umpire? What drew you to that career?

Jim Evans: As a youngster, I played in Little League, Pony League, and all sorts of amateur baseball programs growing up. I was a catcher and got to know the umpires pretty well. I was very curious and was always asking lots of questions. When I was 14, I played in a summer league. One night the chief umpire asked me if I would like to try umpiring. There was a Little League tournament coming up and he needed more umpires than he had. Since I was a catcher, he figured I had a pretty good idea of the strike zone. That first Saturday I ever umpired, I worked five games and loved every minute of it. The managers thought I had a good strike zone and the players liked the way I hustled. Looking back on those games, I probably hustled out of position as much as I hustled into position since I really never had any real training. I was working on instincts alone. My first experiences umpiring were very positive and the $3 a game were icing on the cake. I was still playing two nights a week. With encouragement from the chief umpire, I started umpiring the nights I wasn't playing. I reached the point where I actually enjoyed the umpiring more than playing.

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April 9, 2003 12:00 am

Transaction Analysis: March 25-April 6, 2003

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Christina Kahrl

The Snakes bury John Patterson, the Red Sox sort through a batch of soft tossers, the Marlins vie for a 25-catcher roster, and the Devil Rays solve all their problems by grabbing Al Martin and Damion Easley.

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March 18, 2003 12:00 am

Transaction Analysis: March 11-16, 2003

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Christina Kahrl

Mark Quinn, Bruce Chen and Rob Bell still dishing out torment, Benny Agbayani peddling his Hawaiian Punch to the wrong team, Dan O'Dowd shopping Helton for an impulse control device to be named later, and the Dodgers messing with the wrong Alvarez.

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October 9, 2000 12:00 am

The Managerial Shuffle

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Christina Kahrl

Now that Davey Johnson's pink slip has surfaced from a long lurk in the Dodgers' interoffice mail, there are five managers out of work. Within the next couple of weeks, we'll probably see Jimy Williams and Jim Fregosi join the list. While it makes for nifty trivia that no manager was fired in-season, the firings mean something slightly different for each of the teams. The usual crocodile tears are being shed for the public's benefit about how Buck Showalter, Gene Lamont, Terry Francona and Jack McKeon all deserve better, but what are the really important elements of these firings, and the hirings yet to come? And how much recycling are we going to have accept this time around?

If Jack McKeon was cranky enough to sue over the question of whether or not he was fired because of age discrimination, his dismissal would be a particularly interesting case. If Jim Bowden ends up selecting Bob Boone as McKeon's replacement, it would be Bowden who would have given greater evidence of age-related handicaps like memory loss. Has everyone forgotten Boone's ineptitude as a manager during his stints with Tacoma and Kansas City? There's a hint of a glaucoma problem here if Boone gets the job, at least as far as what George Bush called "the vision thing." Firing the oft-recycled McKeon for someone who hasn't demonstrated any core competency to deserve recycling strikes me as poor judgment on a par with acquiring Fonzie Bichette or Ruben Sierra. On a similar level of irrelevance, Bowden is supposed to be considering Hal McRae, last seen as the Phillies' hitting coach. I don't know what the fascination with uninspired and uninspiring ex-Royals managers represents, but it isn't a good thing. Why not dig up Duke Wathan? If the objective is to bring back Davey Johnson, that's fine, but if the choices are limited to Ken Griffey's dad and some ex-Royal flops, then Bowden isn't rating the job as one with any real importance.

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March 3, 2000 12:00 am

AL Central Notebook

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Christina Kahrl

Continuing our look around the divisions at what spots on whose rosters are being contested:

Chicago White Sox

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Agreed to terms with RHP Brad Clontz on a one-year contract, avoiding arbitration. [2/17]

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February 22, 2000 12:00 am

NL Central Notebook

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Christina Kahrl

This week, let's take a look at some of the position battles for the teams in the division, whether the fight is for a starting job or just a spot on one of the rosters.

Chicago Cubs

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Signed INF Norberto Martin to a one-year contract. [1/9]

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