Potential candidates to replace Gabe Kapler as Phillies manager
Who replaces Kapler?
The Phillies are in the market for a manager again.
They went out-of-the-box and inexperienced with their last hire, Gabe Kapler. It's likely they will look for a more experienced skipper this time and there are a number of them out there.
There are also some names out there that don't have experience managing in the majors but might be good fits in Philadelphia.
Let's take a look at a dozen names worth considering.
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It's doubtful that at age 64, the future Hall of Famer would postpone retirement and leave the West Coast, but you have to make the phone call nonetheless.
Bochy has been to four World Series as a skipper and won three of them in San Francisco, where he spent the last 13 years before deciding to step down after a front-office and organizational philosophy change. No manager runs a bullpen better. Bochy resides in the San Diego area. If he postpones retirement, it might be to return to the Padres, the club he managed from 1995 to 2006.
Farrell has a very interesting resume in that he's worked in player-development and been a big-league pitching coach and manager. He managed Toronto for two years and Boston for five. He won three division titles and the 2013 World Series with the Red Sox before being let go after the 2017 season.
He quickly interviewed for the Phillies' opening and was a finalist along with Dusty Wathan for the position that went to Gabe Kapler. Farrell has presence, experience and he's been successful. He got a look once. Maybe he will again.
Girardi's name has been mentioned for months and with good reason. As a former World Series-winning catcher and manager, he has a wealth of experience running a game and that's something the Phillies could use. He had 10 winning seasons as Yankees manager and beat the Phillies in the 2009 World Series.
The Yankees have long been a powerhouse in the use of analytics and Girardi knows his way around that game. However, he's not a slave to that science and pushed back against the overuse of it at the end of his tenure. He was criticized for not fully connecting with young players late in his time in New York, but does that really stand up now that USA Baseball has hired him to lead this fall's Olympic qualifying team?
Though he spent just three of his 19 playing seasons with the Phillies, Ibañez made quite a mark with the club. He made his only All-Star team as a Phillie and played in three postseasons. He is still well-liked by fans.
Ibañez is bright, articulate and personable. He is of Cuban descent and bilingual. He has long been identified as managerial timber and may have been on his way to landing the Tampa Bay job in 2014 before removing his name from consideration because he did not want to be away from his young family. Ibañez has turned down other interviews and seems content working in the Dodgers front office. He doesn't have managerial experience, but his other strengths make him worth a phone call.
Maddon's time with the Cubs is finished and he would work on a lot of levels in Philadelphia. The pride of Hazleton, Pa., would be a ticket-office hit for his big personality and ability to connect with all levels of a fan base, from the foodies to the shot-and-a-beer crowd. He owns a home and restaurant in the Tampa Bay area, close to the Phillies' second home, Clearwater.
He's also won, most notably in Chicago, where he helped end the Cubs' 108-year World Series title drought. The question is: Would Maddon, with his uber-positivity, simply be a more experienced version of Gabe Kapler? Maybe, maybe not. Maddon knows and uses analytics, but he's also railed against teaching the launch angle swing. He will be in demand.
Nevin is considered a strong big-league managerial prospect after leading teams in the Detroit and Arizona minor-league systems and serving on big-league staffs under Bruce Bochy in San Francisco and Aaron Boone in the Bronx.
The Phillies interviewed him two years ago. He's got some edge and some presence to him and is not the type to coddle players. He is eager for a chance and would be worth speaking with again.
The veteran, old-school former Dodgers catcher runs a game with feel and with his gut. He skippered the Angels for 19 seasons, made the postseason seven times and won a World Series. Yes, he is from Delaware County — Morton, as his old buddies will remind you — but he's pretty much a West Coast guy, having been in Southern California for 40 years.
Would he come back East? And would he even be a fit if this Phillies front office stays intact? Scioscia clashed with Jerry DiPoto over the use of analytics during DiPoto's time as Angels GM. DiPoto's top assistant was Matt Klentak.
Veteran baseball man and three-time AL manager of the year who's skippered the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Rangers and Orioles. He's been to the postseason five times, but never won the big one and is eager for one more chance.
In military terms, Showalter is a general, a detail-driven taskmaster who borders on being a control freak. That style often leads to quick improvements and could be appealing to some in the Phillies' hierarchy. Showalter has deep ties to a number of folks in the Phillies' front office, including president Andy MacPhail, who hired him in Baltimore and has never hidden his respect for him. MacPhail has given his GM a lot of autonomy, but if he pulls rank, Showalter could be the guy.
This guy deserves to be a candidate after serving as Phillies bench coach the last two seasons. The former minor-league catcher and manager and longtime Yankees coach on the staffs of Joe Torre and Joe Girardi is a tireless worker and organizer and those who've been in dugouts with him rave about his strategic acumen. Having worked for the Yankees and the new Phillies, he is literate in analytics but has never lost his old-school principles.
He interviewed for the Yankees job that went to Aaron Boone. He's well respected in the Phillies' clubhouse. "He's tough," Yankees GM Brian Cashman said. "Brutally honest. He'll say what a player needs to hear, not necessarily what a player wants to hear. And he'll always relate well to players because he always has their best interest at heart." Gotta like that.
You want to wake up baseball again in Philadelphia? You want someone who connects with the town? You want someone who can lead? You want someone who knows the game inside and out and was like a manager on the field? Utley has all the qualities needed to manage except, of course, experience and maybe the desire to do it right now. He's enjoying retirement with his wife and two young boys. But someday the lure and love of the game will bring him back to the field. Put Utley with a sharp bench coach like Thomson and you might have a winner right out of the gate.
The Braves have plucked a number of scouts and coaches from the Phillies system over the past year. How about grabbing one of their guys? Washington managed the Texas Rangers to World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011. He had some off-field issues during his time in Texas, but knowledge of the game, work ethic and winning the respect of the players was never a problem.
Washington, the Braves' third-base coach, was in the running for that club's managerial job before it went to Brian Snitker. Arrive four hours before any Braves game and you'll see him on the field working on defensive skills with players.
The Phillies' current third base coach interviewed for the job that went to Gabe Kapler two years ago. He also interviewed in Texas last year. Wathan has plenty of experience running a game and leading a team. He managed in the Phillies' minor-league system for 10 seasons. He was manager of the year at Double A Reading in 2015 and 2016 and earned a promotion to Triple A Lehigh Valley in 2017. His familiarity and relationships with the players could help his candidacy.
One day, he is going to follow in his dad's footsteps (John skippered the Royals) and manage in the big leagues. Maybe this is the time.