Recently, the Philadelphia Phillies decided to move in another direction with then Phillies manager Gabe Kapler after two subpar non-playoff seasons going 161-163. The Phillies have decided on Joe Girardi to fill in the now-vacant position. He brings to the Phillies a championship pedigree with 10 seasons as the Yankees manager with six playoff appearances and one World Series in 2009 against our beloved Phillies. He has a three-year contract and a club option for 2023 which means they get dibs to put another bid on him after his contract is up if they want.
The reason for Kapler’s firing is not alarming to most in the Philadelphia Phillies fan population. Most say that it is because of the win/ loss totals. But there is more to this than just the surface material. If most watched the Phillies these last two seasons, the efforts of the pitching staff to develop the pitching bullpen of Nick Pivetta, Vince Velazquez and Zach Eflin (aka the “Pitching Posse”) yielded little to no results in Kapler’s two seasons. What compounded the frustration and led to his [Kapler’s] firing was the failure to develop the hitting core of Maikel Franco, Rhys Hoskins (aka the second coming of Mike Schmidt) as well as some others. Injuries also played a part in a depleted Phillies team.
It wasn’t all bad in the beginning. At the beginning of the season, the Phillies got off to a pretty good start. They were even over the .500 mark by the end of May. Around the beginning of June, former Golden Glove Center Fielder Andrew McCutchen was diagnosed with an ACL tear, sidelining him for the remainder of the season. From there, within about 21 days the Phillies slipped all the way down to seven games out of playoff contention. There were also whisperings going around that Kapler was also lacking the leadership qualities required to run the team. He was at times too relaxed with his players and gave off a comfortable vibe in the dugout.
Sometimes as a coach you have to walk that fine line of pushing and getting the best out of your players. There are going to be sometimes when you are going to ruffle some feathers to get the best out of your players. Unfortunately, Kapler didn’t do that. He was more of the “cool teacher” and ran a more laid back team. People knew that something was in the water when he was booed on Opening Day. Hey, this is Philadelphia. The place where they booed Santa Claus and Destiny’s Child (because they wore Lakers gear performing) but still, this is Philly. We have seen the Sixers, Flyers and the Eagles get booed at their own home games. If you are not producing, the fans will let you know. Although, there is still a silver lining in these otherwise gray clouds. The cupboard is not bare in the Phillies dugout and they can find a manager that is a little more corporal.
A skipper that will hold his players responsible and accountable for their mistakes but also not the type of manager that will throw his players under the bus. Kapler leaves behind a two-year record spanning from 2018 (80 – 82) .494/ 10 GB and 2019 (81 -81) .500/ 16.0 GB. He joins fellow Phillies managers Ryan Sandberg (2013-2015) and Pete Mackanin (2015-2017) as the only other Phillies managers to be let go after only two years as manager.
Sources: NBC Sports