After shifting Pete Mackanin into a front office role, the Philadelphia Phillies are going against the grain to make Gabe Kapler their next manager.
As a third-straight 90-plus loss season wound down, the Philadelphia Phillies announced manager Pete Mackanin would be transitioned into a front office role next year. The search for a new manager went from Triple-A manager Dusty Wathan to former Red Sox manager John Farrell as the possible favorite, but Todd Zolecki of MLB.com has confirmed the Phillies are set to make Gabe Kapler their next manager after he impressed during a second interview.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports was first to report Kapler as the Phillies top choice to be their next manager. An announcement could come as early as Monday, during a travel day in the World Series.
Kapler has been director of player development for the Los Angeles Dodgers since 2014. He played in the big leagues as an outfielder for 12 years (1998-2010), with a year managing a Boston Red Sox Single-A club in 2007 during a brief retirement.
Kapler briefly worked in television on FS1, where he showed off his passion for and knowledge of sabermetrics, and he also wrote for Baseball Prospectus before landing with the Dodgers. He was a candidate to be the Dodgers manager in 2015, before Dave Roberts was hired.
Zolecki pointed out the Phillies have made recent investments in nutrition and sports psychology. Kapler has interest in nutrition, fitness and sports psychology, and probably some expertise to be tapped into in those areas.
The Phillies have not made the postseason since 2011, with at least 89 losses in five straight seasons. So some fresh thinking is clearly needed. Kapler will be the first manager hired without ties to the organization since Terry Francona in 1996, and the youngest (42 years old) since Francona (37 when he was hired).