The Miami Marlins hired Rachel Balkovec to be their farm director Tuesday, sources told ESPN, tabbing the first woman to manage a minor league team to ramp up their player development.

Balkovec, 36, has spent more than a decade in organized baseball and the past two years managing the Tampa Tarpons, the New York Yankees’ Single-A affiliate, where she went 122-136.

Balkovec takes over a Marlins system that in recent years has graduated solid major league pitching but struggled to develop position players.

After serving as a strength and conditioning coach with St. Louis and Houston, Balkovec joined the Yankees as a hitting coach before moving into the managerial role. She’s the latest hire for new Marlins general manager Peter Bendix, who replaced Kim Ng, who was the first woman GM in Major League Baseball and left the team last year after an unexpected playoff appearance.

The Marlins have spent their offseason focusing on reshaping their front office after Ng’s departure.

Bendix hired former Philadelphia and San Francisco manager Gabe Kapler as assistant GM, poached Frankie Piliere from the Seattle Mariners to run the team’s amateur draft and brought Vinesh Kanthan over from the World Series champion Texas Rangers as director of baseball operations.

The Marlins have yet to sign a free agent, although they’re returning most of their team from last season, when they snuck into the postseason before losing a wild-card series to Philadelphia.

As farm director, Balkovec will inherit arguably the second-most-taxing job in the organization behind Bendix’s. Farm directors oversee more than 150 players and dozens of managers and coaches.

Leave a Reply