Phillies GM leaves door open to fire Gabe Kapler
Phillies GM Matt Klentak had a lot to say about Gabe Kapler, but he missed an important note in his praise.
Phillies general manager Matt Klentak had the opportunity to throw his support behind Gabe Kapler Sunday morning on MLB Network Radio’s “Front Office” but he didn’t go all-in on his second-year manager.
Klentak praised Kapler for making adjustments, making sure his team does the little things right, and that his “ability to adjust and learn and grow has been remarkable.”
A big thing Klentak did not say, which host Jim Bowden threw out for Klentak to say in his question, was whether or not Kapler is the Phillies guy going into next year.
“Give us your evaluation of (Kapler) and can we just publically say ‘hey, he’s safe, he’s going to be our manager going forward'”
Klentak went on to say that he knows the results are what’s going to matter, but he believes Kapler is “very very different than he was at the beginning of last season.”
What I hear from this, and maybe some of this is the Philadelphian overthinker, but I hear Klentak saying he loves Kapler but the franchise is not committed to him if they don’t make the postseason.
It’s obvious Klentak wants Kapler to do well, and all fans should be in his boat in terms of wanting the second-year manager to succeed. Klentak’s firing of his first managerial hire as a GM can only reflect poorly on himself, but in this interview, Klentak doesn’t say Kapler is the guy next year.
Everyone knows the decision to hire Charlie Manuel as the hitting coach came from the very top with owner John Middleton, who wants his f’n trophy back, so much so he’s paying his players $156.2 million this year.
Middleton listens to the fans, and the front office admitted that when it came down to signing either Bryce Harper or Manny Machado last offseason and making a change to the coaching staff midseason. He knows the fans have hated Kapler and his new-age approach to the game from day one, however unfair that may be.
As much as Klentak may love Kapler, Middleton has his pulse on the fanbase and his checkbook. There are already rumors of Mike Scioscia being interested in managing his hometown team or Joe Maddon coming to Philadelphia if the Cubs don’t make the postseason.
We all know who has the final say in this organization, and if the $156 million Phillies fall short of the playoffs after two consecutive seasons marred by collapses, Kapler could be out the door.