3 Enticing Factors About Phillies Managerial Position
Candidates to replace recently fired Phillies manager Gabe Kapler have a lot to be excited for about the position.
When the Philadelphia Phillies dismissed manager Gabe Kapler after just two seasons on Thursday, the club joined a cohort of seven other Major League clubs needing a new skipper for the 2020 season: the Los Angeles Angels, Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, New York Mets, San Diego Padres, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Kansas City Royals.
The Phillies parting ways with Kapler, and before him hitting coach John Mallee mid-season, shows the organization is looking to go in another direction. Part of this new direction is wanting to replace Kapler with a more established manager, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi notes.
But, there are only so many Joe Girardis and Joe Maddons available on the free-agent managerial market, and on paper, it would seem the Phillies would be hard-pressed to attract either. The Cubs’ and Mets’ deep, system-wide talent would be more appealing for managers with prior experience, who likely would want to join a team that is in the best position to win now.
While the Phillies may have their shortcomings, the following three factors could entice Girardi, Maddon, or a similar, well-experienced manager to don red pinstripes next season:
1. Middleton’s ‘Blank Check’
The Phillies are not afraid to break out their checkbook. Phillies Managing Partner John Middleton and fellow organizational brass has committed more than a half billion dollars to free agents over the past two offseasons, and are poised to spend again over the next few months leading into spring training 2020.
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While the Phillies may be hesitant a little to dish out multiple multi-year, double- or triple-digit contracts to additional free agents, salary committed to the manager does not affect the luxury tax.
On NBC Sports Philadelphia’s At the Yard podcast on Thursday, Jim Salisbury says that in his opinion, Middleton will “write the check needed to get the guy he wants.”
Salisbury says Girardi is a strong candidate in his mind, and that he’s a guy that should be high on the Phillies’ list of potential hires.
While Girardi might opt for the Cubs, given he grew up in Illinois and played for the Cubs, Salisbury says that if it comes down to money, “the Phillies can play with anybody for the manager [Middleton] wants,” including possibly Girardi.
2. Pitching & Hitting Coach Vacancies
The Phillies have announced that they have parted ways with Chris Young and Charlie Manuel returning as pitching and hitting coach, respectively, for the Phillies in 2020.
If money is not enough to entice an experienced manager to come to the Phillies in 2020, perhaps having the ability to choose who will work alongside him for at least 162 regular season games would be the ultimate decider.
Salisbury did note, however, that the Phillies’ hitting coach hire will be faced with a tough task, given they have instituted a certain hitting philosophy “up and down the system.”
“They are teaching things certain ways,” he says. “A lot of the stuff you saw with John Mallee, was not necessarily John Mallee as much as it was an approach or philosophy that extends system-wide.”
Yet, despite this, Salisbury says, “If you’re trying to lure a manager with a significant resume, he’s going to want some say at those two positions and you’re going to have to give it to him.”
3. All-Star Caliber Talent
One thing that most of the teams needing a new manager do not have is multiple All-Star caliber players, as do the Phillies.
It’s easy to forget that last offseason, the Phillies became the first team ever to add three position players (Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto and Jean Segura) that made the All-Star team the previous year.
Also, the Phillies were just the second-ever team, since the invention of MVP awards, that brought on two former MVP outfielders in the same offseason (Harper and Andrew McCutchen), The Athletic’s Jayson Stark notes.
On top of the aforementioned All-Stars, the Phillies could add even more this offseason, such as Gerrit Cole and/or Anthony Rendon.
Having a healthy McCutchen back, complementing Harper with a full offseason to prepare for the coming season, things are only looking up for these players to rebound and look to return to the Midsummer Classic in 2020. Also, don’t forget Realmuto, who after a stellar 2019 season on offense and defense will likely soon be locked up to a long-term contract in red pinstripes.
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There are many pros and cons to the Phillies managerial position. They may lose out on their top choice, and maybe even their second. But, it would be difficult to say the aforementioned, enticing factors will not get candidates like Girardi and Maddon to consider the opportunity.