How Hot is Gabe Kapler’s Seat in Philadelphia?
Would the Philadelphia Phillies actually consider moving-on from manager Gabe Kapler?
Just last year, following ta 80-82 record with a underwhelming roster, the Phillies added plenty of pieces to help Kapler make it to the playoffs in 2019. However, Kapler has never clicked with Philadelphia fans, even though his 2018 team overachieved. The crashed down-the-stretch, falling out of the playoff race by going 8-20 in the month of September.
This season, the Phillies are about to face similar fate, going 12-15 in the final month of the season, fading away as a distant memory to fans in Philadelphia.
“I’m going to manage this club as long as I can," Kapler told reporters recently following another loss in Washington. "Because I think I give us a great chance to win and I think because I care deeply about the success of this franchise”
Is Kapler a poor manager, is the roster flawed, is it a combination of both? The latter makes more sense.
No matter what Kapler does, the injuries to his depleted bullpen have caused major issues most of the season. The starting rotation has been a mess, general manager Matt Klentak decided not to upgrade that area of the roster this offseason, instead spending most of John's Middleton's money on bats. Offensively, Andrew McCutchen's injury, and Odubel Herrera's off-the-field issues left the outfield in a state of disarray. Rhys Hoskins went ice-cold in the second half of the season and third base was a disaster all year.
While it’s easy to blame the manager, blaming him for mistakes made by the front-office is scapegoating, but his in-game decisions have been baffling at times.
So the second question is: if the Phillies did fire Kapler after two disappointing, mediocre years, who could replace him?
A name like Joe Maddon keeps popping up – if he’s not retained by the Cubs – could make sense given his extensive winning background and local ties. Joe Girardi was able to succeed in New York, but doesn't really bring the analytical approach that is taking over baseball today.
The players, when asked about their skipper, have maintained throughout the year that the responsibility lies on them and have offered plenty of support for their manager.
If they were to let Kapler go, some around baseball believe he will be scooped up, potentialy as a replacement to Bruce Bouchy in San Francisco. As of now, its not clear what is fate will be, but per NBC Philadelphia Phillies insider Jim Salisbury via producer Sean Kane, it doesn't sound, or smell good.
My take? The Phillies will have a new manager in 2019.