New Phillies manager Gabe Kapler was in the news earlier this year when Yahoo! Sports reported that Major League Baseball was investigating whether the Los Angeles Dodgers had discriminated against an employee.
That employee was Nick Francona, son of current Cleveland Indians manager and former Phillies manager Terry Francona. Nick Francona was an assistant director of player development for the Dodgers. Kapler was his boss.
Francona, a Penn graduate and Afghanistan war veteran, had his contract terminated by the Dodgers in 2016. He made charges of discrimination against the Dodgers and Kapler.
The Phillies carefully investigated the matter before hiring Kapler.
"We were aware of the allegations," general manager Matt Klentak said. "It was public. It was on the internet. So we went into this knowing that something was out there, and we had a variety of conversations, I did and other people with the Phillies did, talking with top level executives with the Dodgers, with executives of Major League Baseball. Major League Baseball has asked that we not comment on the details, but we felt comfortable moving forward (with the hiring) and they've asked that we defer any future questions to the league office."
Kapler declined to comment on specifics of the matter.
"I totally understand why you’re asking the questions," he said at Thursday's introductory news conference (more from that here). "Per Major League Baseball, it’s not something we can address specifically. I will say this: I’ve known the Francona family for a long time and have a tremendous amount of respect for all of them, particularly Terry Francona, who was my manager for several years in Boston. I still hold him in the highest regard and think of him as a mentor.
"But as it relates to this specific question and this specific situation, per MLB, it’s not something that we can address."
Nick Francona currently works for the New York Mets.
Klentak has a relationship with Nick Francona. He was an assistant general manager with the Angels when Francona began his career in baseball.
"I was part of the group with the Angels that hired him there four years ago," Klentak said. "I spent a year working with him. I have a ton of respect for Nick Francona as a person, as a colleague, as a military veteran, and I think the important thing is that we don’t have to choose sides in this.
"I think we can be extremely excited and confident in the future of the Phillies and Gabe Kapler's presence on our staff, while at the same time fully respecting and supporting Nick Francona, who is a great kid, and I think that's an important message."