Phillies

Gabe Kapler issues statement regarding report

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Gabe Kapler issues statement regarding report

Phillies manager Gabe Kapler has taken to his personal website — Kaplifestyle.com — to respond to a report that claims he did not properly handle the reporting of an alleged 2015 assault of a woman in Arizona during his time as director of player development for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The report appeared in Friday's Washington Post.

Here is Kapler's full statement:

"Many of you may be aware of the recent accusations made against the Dodgers and me. I thought that the best thing I could do to explain my actions in this situation would be to walk everyone through my involvement in these events from start to finish.

Before we begin, I want to make one thing clear: There is an allegation that I concealed or otherwise mishandled a sexual assault claim. This is 100% not true. There was no allegation of sexual assault made to me during my handling of this incident. 

Now, I’d like to share what happened. 

I was contacted by the grandmother of the victim the night of February 24th, 2015 via my Dodgers email address. This email contained a written account of an incident that had taken place the night before involving two Dodgers minor league players. I called the grandmother to confirm what had happened. Then, I spoke to the players involved. One player had no recollection of the events at all (all parties agreed that he was passed out due to overconsumption of alcohol during the relevant period and was not a participant or witness to the event). The other confirmed in broad outlines what was said by the grandmother. The next evening, February 25th, the victim sent an email to my Dodgers email address containing her written account of what happened. 

All three of the accounts described a serious situation, but there was no allegation of sexual assault. 

That situation was, in sum:

– Two players and two women met the individual in question. The group of five returned to the hotel room where one of the players was staying.

– One player passed out on the bed.

– The victim vomited on the other bed due to alcohol intoxication.

– The two women proceeded to hit her on the head and poured water on her.

– The other player shared a video clip of the incident on Snapchat.

– The two women asked the victim to leave.

I worked to learn what happened from the players involved, the victim, and the grandmother. All three accounts independently outlined the same events. While a serious physical assault allegation was made against the two women in the room (in an environment that the two players helped to create), none of these accounts involved any sexual assault allegations, and no physical assault allegations were made against either Dodgers player. I and others at the Dodgers still took their role in the incident very seriously and proceeded to act with the information that we had.

Both players admitted their role in the incident and felt remorseful that their actions helped to create a situation that allowed these events to occur in their presence. The two players wanted to apologize directly to the victim for their poor decision making and lack of responsibility or maturity. To facilitate this, and with the understanding (as recounted by all parties I spoke to) that there was no physical or sexual encounters between the players and the alleged victim, I suggested a meeting in order for the players to apologize. The sole purpose was to provide the opportunity for the victim to receive an apology in a controlled environment with supervision, and to educate the players on how to be accountable. The meeting was suggested to the victim, and she declined.  We respected her wishes and dropped the idea.

Subsequently, I received three emails (two from the grandmother, one from the victim) requesting financial assistance in some way (“I would appreciate any type of offer”). I felt a request of this nature was above my paygrade. I shared this information with people within the Dodgers. I did not reply to these requests, I did not provide financial assistance, I did not offer to provide financial assistance, and I did not engage in any negotiations of the sort.

The question of why I didn’t report this to the police is a fair one. Admittedly, there were many thoughts going through my mind at the time. But above all, the victim’s grandmother asked for my reassurance that I wouldn’t “turn [the victim] in” before the victim would share what had happened. After the victim shared her description of the night, she sent me a follow up email and said she didn’t want to talk about it any further. My feeling at the time was that the victim should have the right to make the decision about what she wanted to do. Perhaps I should have taken it out of her hands, but my intention was to respect the victim and her wishes.

In addition to my own involvement with this process, I alerted my supervisor and the Dodgers legal department to allow them to handle whatever employment and legal consequences were deemed appropriate to the situation. It should be noted that because the incident occurred in February, minor league players had not yet reported to camp. There were no formal baseball activities. I could not then suspend or bench the players or pull them from games – there were none going on at that time. 

Again, at the time and as far as I was aware, there were no claims that either player assaulted anyone in any way (sexually or otherwise). While others determined the consequences for the players from a legal and social perspective, I and others in player development took steps to work on their decision-making skills. 

On March 4th, 2015, the player in question asked for assistance in securing an attorney as he had been contacted by the police. I passed that request to the appropriate parties within the Dodgers. That same day, I was notified that the Dodgers would be hiring an attorney to represent the player. At the request of the player’s attorney, I shared with him all communications I had with the victim and the grandmother. The attorney followed up with me on March 6th, 2015 “regarding the police investigation of an incident that occurred at the Hampton Inn in Glendale on February 23-24, 2015” to thank me for sharing the information. At this point, I understood that this situation was in the hands of the police and the legal system and that my role was complete. My understanding is that there was no prosecution based on the results of that investigation. By the time the investigation concluded, the player had already been released from the Dodgers.

Ultimately, I tried to make the best possible decisions I could to ensure that this incident was handled appropriately and to refer the situation to the proper individuals at the Dodgers. I acted based on what I knew at the time based on written accounts and discussions. I believe my actions respected the victim, her situation, the player, and my role at the Dodgers. 

I take violence against women, especially sexual violence, incredibly seriously. In this particular case, the notion that a sexual assault had taken place was never brought up during the time that I was involved in responding. There is a big difference between responding to a player who displayed an unacceptable lack of judgment and one that assaulted a woman. I am well aware of that difference, and I assure you that I would have acted differently if at the time I was involved I had reason to believe that a sexual assault had occurred.

In short, I believed everything that the victim told me throughout the process, and I acted based on that information to the best of my ability. During my handling of this situation, I had no reason to suspect that a sexual assault was alleged. I tried to make the players involved aware of their poor decisions, and I tried to encourage them to make proper decisions in the future. I believe I acted with the best intentions based on what I knew at the time. My goal in every interaction is to always act with integrity and to treat everyone with respect, and I believe my actions reflected those principles. 

Thanks for reading."

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Phillies' 2020 World Series odds are pretty surprising

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Phillies' 2020 World Series odds are pretty surprising

Most of the baseball world agrees that the Phillies are improved with the additions of No. 2 starter Zack Wheeler, shortstop Didi Gregorius, and the new contingent of manager Joe Girardi, pitching coach Bryan Price and hitting coach Joe Dillon.

The question is how much improved?

The Phils won 81 games last season, a year after winning 80. Both years, they totally collapsed in September. Both years, a good number of players were simply playing out the string, though the effort level was more questionable in 2018 than in 2019.

Even though the Phillies were quiet this offseason after their two big signings, and even though the NL East is still a beast, they should still exceed 81 wins. If they don't, there's a serious problem. If they don't, the GM probably won't be here to try to rectify things next offseason.

The over/under win totals are out and the Phillies' number is 85.5 at FanDuel and 84.5 at DraftKings.

I'd go over at 84.5. Think about how many injuries the Phillies suffered last season. Think about the talent gap between Wheeler and every Phillies starting pitcher behind Aaron Nola last season. The impact of Girardi, Price and Dillon won't be all that quantifiable, but it is realistic that this revamped coaching staff can conjure a few more wins out of the 2020 Phillies, whether it's in-game decision-making or better instructions given to young players who underperformed last season.

At DraftKings, the Mets' over/under is a game better than the Phillies' at 85.5. The Braves are at 90.5 and the Nationals 88.5. The Marlins are at 64.5, higher than only one team, the Tigers.

Much more surprising are the Phillies' World Series odds. They have the sixth-shortest odds to win it all. Seriously. They're +1800. Here is the Top 10:

Yankees: 3.5/1
Dodgers: 5/1
Astros: 6/1
Braves: 11/1
Nationals: 14/1
Phillies: 18/1
Mets: 20/1
Twins: 20/1
Red Sox: 22/1
Cubs: 22/1

Apparently, the expectation is that the NL Central will be bringing up the rear in 2020. Really, the only NL Central team that improved was the Reds. The Cardinals lost Marcell Ozuna, the Brewers lost Yasmani Grandal and the Cubs didn't spend money on a single major-league free agent.

Four of the top seven teams being NL East teams just shows you how much of a battle these next seven months will be for the Phils.

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Phillies prospects Spencer Howard and Alec Bohm make Baseball America's Top 100 list

Phillies prospects Spencer Howard and Alec Bohm make Baseball America's Top 100 list

Baseball America’s always interesting Top 100 Prospects list landed this week and the Phillies are represented with two players in the top half.

Starting pitcher Spencer Howard ranks 27th on the list and third baseman Alec Bohm 28th. Both players are projected to open the coming season at Triple A and get to the majors at some point in 2020. Both have been invited to major-league spring training camp, which begins in less than three weeks in Clearwater. See the complete list of Phillies’ in-house non-roster invites here.

Howard, a 23-year-old right-hander, was the Phillies’ second-round draft pick in 2017. We profiled him here.

In its story on the Top 100 prospects, Baseball America offered this take on Howard: Triple-digit fastball, swing-and-miss curveball and the ability to work the edges of the strike zone, Howard flashes front-end potential.

Bohm, 23, was the third overall pick in the 2018 draft. He hit .305 with 21 homers, 80 RBIs and a .896 OPS at three levels, including Double A in 2019. We profiled him here.

Baseball America offered this take on Bohm: Even with questions about whether he’ll have to move to first base, Bohm has the feel to hit and plus power to hit in the middle of the Phillies’ order, and soon.

Shortstop Wander Franco of the Tampa Bay Rays was ranked No. 1 on Baseball America’s list for the second year in a row. The Rays placed eight players on the list. Because of a loaded farm system, the Rays were unable to protect left-hander Cristopher Sanchez on their 40-man roster and the Phillies traded for him in November. Read about Sanchez here.

The Los Angeles Dodgers placed seven players on the list and the Minnesota Twins and San Diego Padres had six each.

The Miami Marlins led National League East teams with five players in the Top 100, including former Phillies pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez, who was traded for J.T. Realmuto a year ago. Sanchez ranks 16th on the list and is projected to arrive in the majors sometime in 2020.

The Atlanta Braves placed four players on the list and the Washington Nationals and New York Mets joined the Phillies with two players.

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