Phillies move on from Gabe Kapler, who will be his heir apparent?
In two seasons as manager of the Phillies, Gabe Kapler posted a combined record of 161 wins and 163 losses.
Thursday morning, Philadelphia Phillies fans and the rest of the baseball world woke up to the news that the organization decided to relieve Gabe Kapler of his managerial duties. In his two-year tenure, Gabe posted a combined record of 161 wins and 163 losses.
While he may have helped lead the team out of the basement in his first season, both seasons ended with a late year collapse, ultimately costing the Phillies a chance in the post season.
Kapler was not entirely at fault for all of the Phillies woes, as the team was plagued early and often by the injury bug. Most notably to two major acquisitions in Andrew McCutchen, who’s season was cut short on June 4 due to a torn ACL in his right knee and reliever David Robertson who was sent to the IL in what was just his 7th relief appearance on April 14. That may have been the last time we’ll see the 34-year-old right-handed reliever take the bump in Phillies pinstripes, as he underwent Tommy John surgery on August 22. He is expected to miss the entire 2020 season, which was the last of his two-year $22 million contract. It is unlikely the Phillies will implement his club option of $12 million for the 2021 season.
Majority owner John Middleton certainly has his work cut-out for him this off-season. While he may have spent “stupid money” solidifying the Phillies line-up coming into the 2019 campaign, none bigger than the 13-year $330 million contract to superstar Bryce Harper, it is likely he will have to do the same for 2020. This time to the heavily underachieving pitching staff.
With the team sitting roughly $83 million under the leagues $208 million luxury tax, Middleton and co., could try and pursue superstar talent in current Astros ace, Gerrit Cole or Giants ace, Madison Bumgarner among others. Middleton also has to decide if he will introduce an entirely new regime to the Phillies front office or if he will stick with current team president, Andy McPhail, and general manager, Matt Klentak.
Like Gabe Kapler, both are heavily in favor of making decisions via sabermetrics. It appears that will not cut it in Philadelphia. This blue-collar fan-base seems to be heavily in favor of a more balanced approach. Leadership that can mix old-school baseball techniques and analytics in a way that can bring the Phillies to its first post-season appearance since 2012.
After two-years of disappointing baseball, much of the Philadelphia fanbase voiced their displeasure about Gabe on social media, local sports talk shows, and during games. While Gabe is not entirely at fault for the Phillies shortcomings, it appears he simply was not the best fit for this team nor city.
Who will be the next Phillies manager?
It should be interesting to see which direction the Phillies front office goes about choosing their next manager. As mentioned, does Middleton clean house altogether? Or keep MacPhail and Klentak and hire Buck Showalter? Buck has ties to both as he was previously hired manager of the Baltimore Orioles in 2010 by then team president Andy MacPhail and Matt Klentak, who was director of baseball operations at the time.
Several names also available are: Former Yankees manager Joe Girardi, Upper Darby, PA native and former LA Angels manager Mike Scioscia, and former Cubs manager Joe Maddon, to name a few.
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