Phillies owner John Middleton had the final say on last week’s firing of manager Gabe Kapler, whom he ditched despite disagreements from the club’s front office and some of its prominent players. Middleton polled members of the Phillies’ roster in regards to Kapler, and though the skipper received favorable reviews from the likes of Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto, it wasn’t enough to save his job.
Now, with the Phillies looking for a replacement for Kapler, Middleton’s reportedly surveying players again. This time, he’s seeking input on longtime manager Buck Showalter, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network. With Middleton having indicated general manager Matt Klentak is leading the hiring process, it’s notable the owner seems to be taking on an active role in a coaching decision yet again. Back in August, a couple months before Kapler’s firing, Middleton made the call to replace hitting coach John Mallee with ex-Phillies manager Charlie Manuel.
The 63-year-old Showalter is currently one of three seasoned skippers the Phillies are honing in on, joining Dusty Baker and Joe Girardi. Showalter looks to have the strongest connection of the trio to Philly’s front office, which is run by former Baltimore executives in Klentak and president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail. In fact, it was MacPhail who hired Showalter to manage the Orioles in 2010. It proved to be a sound decision by MacPhail, as the Showalter-led O’s earned three playoff berths until his ouster last year. Klentak and MacPhail are still Showalter fans, if his status as a finalist for the Phillies’ job is any indication, but he has to win over Middleton as well.