Where does Gabe Kapler stand as the Phillies manager? No one seems to know.
The Phillies offseason is officially 48 hours old, and the status of the much-maligned manager Gabe Kapler is still up in the air.
The organization has seemingly gone dark, wrestling over whether or not to keep a manager the front office has stood behind, but fans have voiced their displeasure with since day one.
As of 11 p.m. on Tuesday evening no word has come from the team despite many local and national reporters and pundits saying they believe Kapler will be gone.
A big sticking point is likely general manager Matt Klentak, who made Kapler his first manager hire since joining the Phillies in 2015. He stood behind Pete Mackanin during the early stages of a rebuild, but he set the organization down a path with Kapler that fans have revolted against.
Owner John Middleton listens to the fans, admitting as much after signing Bryce Harper by saying he heard the uneasiness regarding Manny Machado.
Howard Eskin of 94.1 WIP says there is a battle in the organization over Kapler’s status with Klentak fighting to keep his guy.
Klentak has been vocal in his support for Kapler, pointing towards the team’s many injuries in the bullpen and the loss of Andrew McCutchen. However, Klentak did leave the door open for Kapler to be fired by never saying Kapler was the guy beyond this year, likely because Klentak doesn’t have the power to decide that.
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Klentak himself has come under fire from a fanbase that hasn’t bought into analytics and rightfully questioned the decision to ride with young pitchers in the starting rotation over free agents such as Dallas Keuchel.
If Klentak were to stick up for Kapler and go the route of saying ‘if Kap goes, I go’ then Middleton would be put in a very tough place. Klentak was quietly given a contract extension prior to this season and while he failed to add pitching, he has made solid additions with Bryce Harper, Jean Segura, J.T. Realmuto, and Jay Bruce on offense.
We’re not 100 percent sure if Klentak would go that far to keep his manager, but it’s clear Klentak does not have the final decision here. It will be Middleton’s move, and with names such as Joe Maddon, Joe Girardi, Buck Showalter, and Mike Scioscia being connected to the job along with the fan base’s public support for removing Kapler, it’s hard to see the second year manager at the helm next season.