Baseball’s coaching carousel may be more chaotic than its free agency period this winter.
Eight franchises now have managerial openings as of October, with Philadelphia eventually deciding to part ways with Gabe Kapler, although he may not be out of work for too long.
The 44-year-old is reportedly set to interview in San Francisco to fill the vacancy left by Bruce Bochy’s retirement, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) October 12, 2019
Kapler, once the Dodgers’ Director of Player Development, was a strong candidate to replace Don Mattingly as Los Angeles’ manager in 2016 but the team ultimately decided to go with Dave Roberts.
He didn’t have to wait his turn too long after that. The Phillies hired Kapler as manager in October 2017.
His teams in Philadelphia, however, never showed the improvement he was brought in to oversee. In two season, Kapler went 161-163 and finished fourth in the National League East in 2019 despite offseason additions including Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto.
“I have evaluated our organization extensively, a process that included talking to many people both internally and around the league,” Phillies owner John Middleton said in a press release announcing Kapler’s firing. “Reassuring to me was the endorsement that people outside the Phillies gave to the progress we have made recently, both organizationally and on the field. Nevertheless, with the knowledge that I have gained from my evaluation, combined with my personal reflection on the 2019 season, I have decided that some changes are necessary to achieve our ultimate objective.”
Plenty within the organization were reportedly split over whether or not to retain Kapler before Middleton ultimately made the decision to let him go.
Now Kapler may have a chance to redeem himself back in the NL West, but the expectations with the Giants won’t be any lower than they were in Philly. Bochy’s tenure led to World Series titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014 for San Francisco — even if his 1052-1054 overall record was less than stellar.
The Giants finished third in the NL West in 2019 (77-85) and 29 games back of the Dodgers despite a late playoff push. While San Francisco isn’t in need of a total rebuild, the core of their World Series teams has aged enough to warrant significant roster moves and an influx of young talent.
With former Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi now running the show in the Bay Area, it certainly makes sense he’d want to hear from his former player development leader as he looks for a new manager.
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