Phillies

It’s time for the Phillies to say something about Gabe Kapler’s future

Phillies

Update: No announcement or resolution is expected Wednesday, either.

All right, what's going on here?

It's been more than two days since the Phillies' season ended and we still don't know if manager Gabe Kapler will be back next season.

Maybe the Phillies are going to stick with him and don't feel that an official announcement is necessary because Kapler has a year remaining on his contract.

Or maybe his status is still under review. General manager Matt Klentak hired Kapler and just two weeks ago publicly praised his work. Even after two disappointing seasons, Klentak is no hurry to fire his handpicked manager and put himself directly in the line of fire. It's clear that Kapler's fate is in the hands of owner John Middleton.

According to sources, Middleton has spent much time over the past week seeking opinions about his organization, the work of the front office and the manager in particular.

Middleton was not happy with the way the 2019 season went, not happy that the Phillies' postseason drought is up to eight years. He appears ready to make changes, or maybe we should say more changes because he pushed for the dismissal of hitting coach John Mallee in August.

But the question remains: Will he? If he does, how high will the changes go? Will he make changes at the executive level or will they simply be directed at the field level, where Kapler has posted a 161-163 record in two disappointing seasons?

 

Middleton is known to be a methodical decision-maker who turns over every stone seeking information when considering a change. But two days after the season has been completed seems to be ample time for him to meet with the people he desired to speak with, even if some of them are players. Twice in the past week, Bryce Harper said he'd be willing to speak with ownership about the season, the team — anything — if he was asked to.

If Middleton intends to make changes, time is ticking for a few reasons.

One, other teams with managerial openings will be able to get a jump on the Phils in interviewing available candidates.

Two, Major League Baseball frowns on teams making significant announcements during the postseason. MLB wants attention to be focused on the events on the field and the teams that are actually playing.

The postseason began Tuesday night with the National League wild-card game. It continues on Wednesday night with the American League wild-card game. The postseason really heats up on Thursday with a pair of NL Division Series games, starting at 5 p.m., Eastern time.

The Commissioner's office would be none too happy if the Phillies — or any other club — were to make news during one of these games. So if you're looking for the timing of a potential announcement these next few days, noontime or before would make sense.

The third reason that the Phillies are on the clock is Kapler himself. He is a very fair guy and a very aware guy. He knows his fate is twisting in the wind and being debated in headlines and on the airwaves. Is it fair to keep him flapping in the breeze? Ditto for some members of the coaching staff who are tied to him. And ditto for the 2.7 million people who came through the turnstiles this season. They want to know, too.

A resolution needs to come soon.

Is Gabe Kapler staying?

Is he going?

What about the rest of the staff?

It's time for the Phillies to say something either way.

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