Why the San Francisco Giants Are Considering Gabe Kapler For Their Next Manager

Forbes Finance 1 month ago
Marlins Phillies Baseball
Philadelphia Phillies' Gabe Kapler in action during a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The San Francisco Giants turned a few heads recently when it was announced that they will interview recently deposed Phillies’ manager Gabe Kapler for their open position. Outgoing manager Bruce Bochy is singular enough that any hire will be a departure from the previous era, but Kapler would be a dramatic shift. Bochy, 64, is among the best of the old-school managers. Kapler, 44, would represent a generational change in how he approaches the game.

The Kapler narrative

Gabe Kapler spent the last two seasons managing the Philadelphia Phillies, and the birds-eye take is that it did not go well. The results were sub-optimal for a team with World Series ambitions: a 161-163 record with two horrid Septembers tanking any hopes of the playoffs. The oft-repeated line is that Kapler’s methods, such as constantly juggling bullpen roles and lineup positions, ruffled feathers among his veterans, who were not much younger than Kapler and used to playing the game a certain way.

Certainly those tensions existed, but it’s good to remember that these narratives make for good media fodder. It’s hard to write a story about a copacetic clubhouse, but discord makes for good intrigue and good columns. Furthermore, those stories seemed to have died down in Kapler’s second year. Kapler slowed his roll a bit, using a more consistent lineup and fewer defensive shifts. He backed off on ideas like having outfielders swap places between batters, and allowed Bryce Harper to occupy the third spot in the lineup, even if an algorithm for run optimization might put him second or fourth, because Harper likes batting third.

Dig a little deeper, and there’s another Kapler narrative: he is beloved by many of the people he has worked with, particularly Phillies’ general manager Matt Klentak and Giants’ President of Baseball Operations (code for, the guy running the show) Farhan Zaidi. Klentak wanted to keep Kapler, but was overruled by team CEO John Middleton.

"I don't think this is a secret — I'm a big fan," Klentak said of Kapler in a recent ESPN article. "I think he's really good at what he does — very talented, very hardworking, a good communicator.” (Side note: the meddling CEO or owner who regularly makes personnel decisions over the GM and President of Baseball Operations – that whole thing rarely ends well.)

As for Zaidi, he worked with Kapler when they were both in the Dodgers organization, and Farhan is reportedly a big fan. The two seem to share a mindset of experimentation and a desire to look for the best results in traditional practice and modern, analytical thinking.

The next Giants’ core

The San Francisco Giants are a team in transition. The veteran core of Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Jeff Samardzija, Johnny Cueto and Evan Longoria will all find their way to other teams or reduced roles over the next year or two, and some could be gone by opening day. Catcher Buster Posey could be on that list too, but the thought here is that he will stay with the team as a player and then a coach or executive. The next Giants’ manager needs to be able to work with these veterans, but the real focus will be on the next core, which could include players like Joey Bart, Heliot Ramos and Mauricio Dubon. Kapler impressed as the Dodgers’ Director of Player Development, and seems better suited to a young core than the hand he was dealt in Philadelphia.

Furthermore, being a baseball manager is hard, and there are more ways to fail than succeed. There are, however, multiple ways to succeed, and Kapler seems interested in seeking out some novel paths. Experience matters, and that’s why the same names circulate every time there is a new opening. Many exalted managers didn’t get it right the first time, like Joe Girardi and A.J. Hinch. The Giants have many fine options to choose from, but we shouldn’t be too quick to discount Kapler, just because things didn’t go quite as planned in his first attempt.


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Concord Monitor › Sports › 4 hours ago
SAN FRANCISCO – Gabe Kapler might need years to match the popularity of his predecessors with the San Francisco Giants.Farhan Zaidi believes he will get there eventually.Kapler has been hired as San Francisco’s manager a month after being fired...
New York Post › Sports › 1 day ago
SAN FRANCISCO — Gabe Kapler has been hired as manager of the San Francisco Giants, a month after being fired from the same job by the Philadelphia Phillies. Kapler received a three-year contract to replace Bruce Bochy, who retired at the end of the...
USA Today › Sports › 1 day ago
Former Philadelphia Phillies manager Gabe Kapler takes over for Bruce Bochy as the new San Francisco Giants skipper.
UPI › 16 hours ago
The San Francisco Giants have named Gabe Kapler their 39th manager in franchise history.
The New York Times › Sports › 1 day ago
Gabe Kapler has been hired as manager of the San Francisco Giants, a month after being fired from the same job by the Philadelphia Phillies.
ABC News › 1 day ago
Gabe Kapler has been hired as manager of the San Francisco Giants, a month after being fired from the same job by the Philadelphia Phillies
Chicago Tribune › 20 hours ago
Gabe Kapler has been hired as manager of the San Francisco Giants, a month after being fired from the same job by the Philadelphia Phillies.
USA Today › Sports › 1 month ago
The Philadelphia Phillies fired manager Gabe Kapler on Thursday. Kapler was at the helm for two seasons.
New York Post › Sports › 1 month ago
Mickey Callaway has company. Phillies manager Gabe Kapler became the latest NL East manager to be fired, with the team ending his two-year stint Thursday, according to multiple reports. In his first-ever major league managing gig, Kapler, 44, went 161...
New York Post › Sports › 1 month ago
Gabe Kapler’s fate is likely in his players’ hands now. Phillies owner John Middleton has asked for the input of the his roster as he gets set to decide whether Kapler will return for his third season as manager – the final one on his contract...
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