OCT. 30, 3:41pm: The Phillies have announced that Kapler will indeed take over the dugout.
7:30am: Kapler is indeed the Phillies’ choice to be their next manager, reports MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki. He impressed in a second interview this past Friday, and an announcement could come on Monday, according to Zolecki.
OCT. 29: The Phillies look to be close to naming Gabe Kapler as their next manager, as Jon Heyman and Robert Murray of FanRag Sports report that “barring something unforeseen,” Kapler is the team’s choice to replace Pete Mackanin. An official announcement could come as early as Monday, or perhaps until after the World Series is over.
Kapler and Triple-A manager Dusty Wathan were known to be the finalists for the job. Former Red Sox manager John Farrell also known to be in the running if Philadelphia opted for a skipper with MLB experience. It now seems, however, that the Phillies will go in the opposite direction with Kapler, who will be joining a Major League staff for the first time in any capacity. He has worked as the Dodgers director of player development for the last three years, and Kapler’s dugout resume consists of managing the Red Sox A-ball affiliate in 2007 and coaching on Team Israel’s staff during the qualifying rounds of the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
Despite this relative lack of experience, however, Kapler has long been cited as a potential manager of the future, even dating back to his playing career as an outfielder with the Red Sox, Rangers, Rays, Tigers, Rockies and Brewers from 1998-2010 (he took a year off for that Single-A managing stint). Kapler was seen as a strong contender for the Dodgers’ last managerial vacancy, and it was even seen as something of an upset when the team instead hired Dave Roberts.
The Phillies were thought to be looking to hire a more analytically-minded manager, and Kapler would certainly fit that description. Two years ago, ESPN.com’s Mark Saxon profiled Kapler’s full embrace of statistical analysis, physical and mental training methods in helping mold the Dodgers’ minor leaguers. Kapler, 42, would be the latest in the game’s trend of younger managers not far removed from their playing days and without much formal managerial or even coaching experience.
Assuming the hire is official, Kapler will take over a young Phillies team still in the midst of a rebuild, but already with some intriguing building block pieces on the roster. Phils GM Matt Klentak surprised many when he removed Mackanin from the manager’s job to a front office position last month, though since Mackanin was already in place when Klentak became GM in October 2015, Klentak has now firmly put his own stamp on the manager’s job. Klentak and Kapler have a past relationship, as Klentak was working in the Rockies’ baseball operations department in 2003 when Kapler was playing for the team.