The Chicago Cubs will interview Gabe Kapler, the former Philadelphia Phillies manager who was dismissed just days ago, for their managerial vacancy.
The Philadelphia Phillies fired Gabe Kapler after he complied a 161-163 record in his first two seasons as a big league skipper. Reportedly, ownership forced GM Matt Klentak’s hand in the move, so it’s a bit unclear what the consensus is about the job he did with the Phils. But there’s apparently enough intrigue in the game surrounding Kapler to net him multiple interviews, including one this week with the Chicago Cubs to replace Joe Maddon as manager.
With all that in mind, Kapler does not seem like the best bet for the Cubs, but he does have some long-standing connections to the current team and front office, not to mention an impressive resume.
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During his playing days, Kapler spent a few seasons with the Boston Red Sox, which is where he and Theo Epstein became fond of each other. Kapler was a part of the historic 2004 Red Sox team that played curse-buster before it was popular in the Windy City.
It is crazy to me managers are getting fired a year or two into their tenure with a new team. By all accounts Kapler seems like a great baseball mind and was liked by those coached by him. Bryce Harper and JT Realmuto were vocal in defending their manager. Realmuto even said he expected to have Kapler back in 2020 – which would have been the final year of the skipper’s initial three-year deal.
Obviously, we now know the Phillies will be managed by a different leader. One of the constant criticisms Kapler faced by outsiders is that the clubhouse was too loose.
In the video referenced above, you can actually see players playing ping-pong behind Realmuto. I am not insinuating ping-pong is bad for the clubhouse but clearly shows the kind of ship Kapler likes to run. He is a player manager. Following Joe Maddon, the last thing the Cubs need is another leader who likes to play it fast and loose.
Kapler will also be interviewing for the San Francisco Giants, an organization ran by Farhan Zaidi, his former boss during his time heading up the Los Angeles Dodgers player development system. That experience no doubt plays a role in the Cubs wanting to interview Kapler, given their organizational inability to develop impact pitching, specifically.
One reason I see Kapler as a long shot candidate is that he is fairly young at just 44 years of age. The Cubs will be looking for someone who is accepting of the new analytical approach to management and Kapler is known for his analytically-savvy mind.
Gabe Kapler seems like he could be a great manager. I imagine he will find success somewhere in this league. The Chicago Cubs are not the team for him. We need a manager who can lay into players after mistakes. We need someone who will be hard-nosed when the situation calls for it and, simply put, he’s not that guy.