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Ng and McCourt Meet on GM Job

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Times Staff Writer

Dodger owner Frank McCourt made an analogy to his experience in real estate development when he discussed hiring a successor to the fired Paul DePodesta eight days ago, saying he wanted to lay a strong foundation.

But he is discovering that finding a general manager is more complicated than finding a general contractor.

After several misfires, McCourt finally was able to interview someone in person Saturday but only because the candidate already works at Dodger Stadium. Kim Ng, the highly regarded Dodger assistant GM who earlier held the same position with the New York Yankees, would become Major League Baseball’s first female GM if hired.

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Ng, who also is a candidate for the Boston vacancy, will represent the Dodgers at the three-day GM meetings in Palm Springs beginning Tuesday along with Roy Smith, vice president of player development. McCourt does not plan to attend the meetings.

The only other known candidates -- John Hart and Theo Epstein -- have been much harder for McCourt to pin down, and the Dodgers are dipping into a secondary list that includes candidates currently employed in jobs below the GM level.

Epstein, who resigned as Boston general manager last week, has told the Dodgers through an intermediary that he will speak to McCourt before the GM meetings. Epstein felt cramped by Red Sox President Larry Lucchino and might insist on a title higher than GM to consider the Dodgers.

Hart, an esteemed GM in the 1990s with Cleveland who fell on hard times the last few years at Texas, is supposed to talk to McCourt today to clarify conflicting accounts of his interest. The Rangers have given the Dodgers permission to interview Hart, who took a position as front-office advisor after resigning under pressure as general manager a month ago.

Hart, who has been in Mississippi playing in a golf tournament, traded messages with McCourt the last two days. He sounded excited about the job in a telephone conversation with the Dodger owner Thursday but apparently has since informed Texas brass that he won’t leave.

“My understanding is that John is enthusiastic about his position with the Rangers and plans to stay here,” Texas GM Jon Daniels told the Fort Worth Star Telegram on Saturday after speaking to Hart.

Who would be next on McCourt’s list?

Philadelphia assistant GM Ruben Amaro Jr. and former agent Dennis Gilbert interviewed for the job two years ago before McCourt hired DePodesta. Orel Hershiser is eager to come to the Dodgers, although his title might not be GM.

Another veteran Philadelphia executive is Mike Arbuckle. The Phillies filled their GM vacancy last week by passing over Amaro and Arbuckle and hiring the Dodgers’ first choice, Pat Gillick. Other executives who could become candidates include Dan Jennings of Florida, Dayton Moore of Atlanta and Ned Colletti of San Francisco. Jennings and Moore said Saturday they have not been contacted and Colletti did not return a phone call.

Three Yankee executives -- Mark Newman, Gene Michael and Damon Oppenheimer -- have impressive resumes. Oppenheimer might be the most likely candidate because he was positioned to succeed Brian Cashman had the Yankees not come to terms with their longtime GM. Cashman said the Dodgers have not asked permission to speak with anyone in the Yankee organization.

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The Dodgers have cut the number of teams at their academy in the Dominican Republic from two to one. They plan to lease half of the complex, which includes fields, offices and living quarters, to another team.

Rene Francisco, who resigned as Dodger director of international scouting, has taken the same job with Atlanta.

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Times staff writer Tim Brown contributed to this report.


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