Phillies Managerial Search Could Be ‘Quick Process’
The 55th manager in Phillies history could be announced sooner rather than later.
Just four days ago, the Philadelphia Phillies announced that Gabe Kapler will not return as manager for the 2020 season.
The announcement, which came 11 days after the conclusion of the 2019 season, placed the Phillies among seven other teams needing a new manager.
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While it appeared on paper that the Phillies were “behind the eight ball” because they were the eighth team to announce their managerial decision, in actuality, they could be among the first to hire their new manager.
On NBC Sports Philadelphia’s recent At the Yard podcast, Jim Salisbury says that he thinks the Phillies’ search for a new manager could be a “quick process”:
"If you go back to the process conference, John Middleton said he began thinking of making managerial change back in July. So, clearly, his wheels have been spinning on this. His front office knows his wheels have been spinning on this."
Since the idea of moving on from Kapler has existed in the back of the Phillies front office member’s minds as early as mid-summer, Salisbury says that there is “no reason” they “shouldn’t have been thinking what they are looking for in the next skipper for quite awhile now.”
“I think they know what they are looking for. I think it could be quick,” he says.
The Phillies’ largest, latest division lead this past season was on May 29, when they held a 3 1/2-game advantage. Nearly just seven weeks later, July 15, the Phillies trailed the division by a then-season-high 9 1/2 games — a 13-game difference.
Instead of acting then to remove Kapler, the Phillies held on, and would not fall deeper in the standings until August 23, trailing the National League East by 10 1/2 games.
By season’s end, the Phillies’ division deficit was 16 games, and it had climbed to as high as 18 during the five-game road series against the Washington Nationals.
Salisbury suggested that Major League Baseball frowns on major announcements during the postseason, but that the Phillies could announce their decision during next Monday’s off-day, between the League Championship series and the World Series.
“I think if you hustle and have an idea what you are looking for, this could be a quick process,” he says.
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During last week’s press conference, Phillies Managing Partner John Middleton did not rule out exploring the possibility of considering a young, unproven manager, such as what Craig Counsell was prior to becoming the Milwaukee Brewers’ manager.
Salisbury says that if such a name pops up that is really attractive to the Phillies, “then maybe it will take them a little longer as they try to do some work.” However, every indication he is getting suggests the Phillies are looking for anything but the next Counsell, or, what Kapler was before his first season in red pinstripes in 2018.
“They want an experienced guy. I think they have a profile down on what they are looking for. There are those guys out there,” Salisbury says.
“If they want to make a quick work of this, they certainly can.”
Among the candidates, there is Buck Showalter, who Salisbury describes as “a master of the quick turn-around,” and Joe Girardi, who knows how to balance analytics, or new-school, with old-school.
And while the Phillies and Mets might be engaged in a “battle” for Girardi’s services, Salisbury says that if they really want him, he thinks the Phillies “can prevail in any bidding war.”
“They’re a very deep-pocketed, big-market team. If that is the guy you want, and money is the hold-up, you just make it happen,” he says.
“My sense is, they would love to come out of this with Joe Girardi.”