The SF Giants are looking at a few internal candidates, including coach Alyssa Nakken, for the managerial vacancy. Plus, Kim Ng parted ways with the Miami Marlins earlier this week. The Giants should try to have them both running things to turn the culture around.
SF Giants should pair Kim Ng and Alyssa Nakken
Let's make something abundantly clear: both women are more than qualified to be GM and manager respectfully. Ng was an assistant director of baseball operations with the Chicago White Sox from 1990 -1996, an assistant GM of the New York Yankees from 1998 - 2001, and the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2002 - 2011. Most recently Ng was the GM of the Miami Marlins from 2021 until October 16th, when she voluntarily parted ways with the organization after they attempted to subvert her authority by hiring someone above her.
During Kim Ng's time as the Marlins' GM, they went 220 - 266, the Marlins struggled in 2021 and 2022 but won 84 games in 2023 before losing in the NL Wild Card series. Ng took a Marlins team known for operating with a minuscule budget and limited desire for winning to a full-season playoff berth for the first time since 2003.
As for Alyssa Nakken, while she was a player at Sacramento State, was an all-conference selection three times, and the 2012 Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Nakken has been with the Giants organization since 2014 where she started as an intern.
She has a master's degree in sports management and has been on the major league coaching staff since 2020 where she has received nothing but rave reviews from players and personnel alike. Furthermore, the Giants officially interviewed her for their vacant manager position on October 15th.
How It All Fits
The Nakken fit is more obvious as the Giants currently have a managerial opening and she's already been interviewed for the position. The Ng fit is a bit more complicated. Farhan Zaidi is still running the Giants for the time being.
The likeliest scenario where we see the Nakken and Ng pairing would be for Nakken to be hired prior to this season and Ng hired following the season after Zaidi's contract expires if the Giants do not renew it. I am wondering if her becoming available is somewhat of a surprise. Obviously a lot would need to happen but it is far from impossible for the planets to align for her to eventually take over for the Giants.
As for the field, we can look at the construction of the Marlins in recent years as an idea of how Ng operates. One notable example was the premium placed on high contact rates with minimal strikeouts.
Ng was the architect of the Pablo Lopez for Luis Arraez trade with Arraez being well-known for being one of the highest contact rate players in MLB. He had the 2nd lowest whiff % in MLB last year. The Marlins as a team had the 5th fewest strikeouts. Of the 5 teams with the fewest strikeouts, three made the playoffs (MIA, ARI, HOU) plus ATL was 6th and TOR was 7th—all playoff teams.
Meanwhile, the Giants were 7th highest in strikeouts. Among the teams in the top 7 in strikeouts, only MIN was a playoff team and the Phillies were 8th but no other playoff teams breached the top ten. There's no doubt the Giants could use an influx of contact into their lineup, something Ng clearly values. Nakken's style of coaching is unknown though she would need to depart from the strict analytical style of coaching in order to get the job or she would just be Gabe Kapler all over again.
It is fairly easy to see what the Giants would look like as a team under the power paring of Ng and Nakken. Ng valued pitching and a high-contact offense. The Giants had the 2nd highest pitching xFIP in MLB last season and the pitching foundation is clearly present with Logan Webb leading the way.
However, the offensive side would see a large makeover. Wilmer Flores, Lamonte Wade Jr., Thairo Estrada, and Mike Yastrzemski were the only Giants with above-average whiff % numbers. If just looking at whiff %, JD Davis and Austin Slater would likely be non-tendered. Joc Pederson and Michael Conforto would be encouraged to hit free agency.
Not to mention, David Villar, Brett Wisley, Joey Bart, and Heliot Ramos would all be on the block. This would give more playing time to Luis Matos, Casey Schmitt, and Tyler Fitzgerald. Nakken would be the overseer of this new roster where she has had success being personable and gaining players' trust since she became an assistant coach.
This combination would be highly encouraging and would likely push the Giants towards a more entertaining and effective style of play. Not only are these two women more than qualified for their respective spots but they would introduce a new and improved Giants team.