A familiar name has been connected to the Phillies potential manager opening.
With a dozen games remaining in the regular season and the chances of making the playoffs unlikely, the speculation surrounding Phillies manager Gabe Kapler’s future has picked up steam.
Veteran managers Joe Maddon and Mike Scioscia, both Pennsylvania natives, have been linked to the job. Scioscia has been out of baseball for a year after 19 years with the Angels, and Maddon is on the hot seat in Chicago.
Another veteran manager with connections to the Phillies front office has been mentioned by multiple baseball insiders this week, former Orioles manager Buck Showalter.
Jayson Stark of The Athletic mentioned Showalter’s name twice on 97.5 The Fanatic this week.
“They could be in position where some big name managers are available…Buck Showalter has been sitting out there for a year… (Kapler) might be back, but they’ve got options”
Stark mentioned Showalter again on Mike Missanelli’s show saying “Buck Showalter is already out there.” I’ve heard Showalter’s name thrown out with the Phillies on a national show, but the exact one I’m not certain.
The connection to Philadelphia comes with team president Andy MacPhail, who hired Showalter to manage the Orioles. Phillies general manager Matt Klentak was the Orioles Director of Baseball Operations when Showalter was hired, though he left after the 2011 season for the Angels.
Currently an analyst for ESPN and the YES Network, Showalter has 20 years of managerial experience and over 1,500 wins to his name. He’s won three division titles and just nine postseason games in his career, but won Manager of the Year three times.
Showalter has never managed in the World Series, and his lone championship series appearance came in 2014 with Baltimore when they were swept by the Royals. Two teams, New York and Arizona, won the World Series the year after Showalter left, suggesting he could be the classic middle man for a budding team.
Turning 64 next year, Showalter has experience in a variety of markets, having managed the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Orioles, and Rangers. With no major playoff victories or a championship, Showalter sits on the borderline of Cooperstown with the 24th most wins in baseball history, but the sixth-worst playoff win percentage (.391) for a manager with at least four playoff appearances.
Would the Phillies want a middle man after spending hundreds of millions of dollars last offseason, or do they want a guy like Scioscia or Maddon who have won? Obviously there are members of the front office very familiar with Showalter, which would help his case of Kapler is fired.
The sense is that if Klentak has the final answer on Kapler, the guy stays for another year. However, Klentak likely doesn’t have the final say, and we saw John Middleton push for Charlie Manuel’s return as hitting coach, bucking the new style trend Philadephia went towards in hiring Kapler after years of Manuel, Ryne Sandberg, and Pete Mackanin.
Showalter may not be the perfect option for Philadelphia, but he has experience helping teams get over the hump and into the playoffs, but not finishing the job. He’s known to be a little more feisty than Kapler, which may or may not jive with today’s players.
Showalter is interesting name to keep an eye on as the season comes to an end and questions hang around Kapler. He’ll certainly come up in more discussions if Kapler is fired given his connection to the front office.