The Philadelphia Phillies had a disappointing 2019 campaign after signing superstar free agent Bryce Harper to a mega-contract and then missing the playoffs, finishing in fourth place in the division.
An eighth year of missing the playoffs reportedly has Phillies owner John Middleton pondering a change at manager, even as Gabe Kapler has improved the team’s win total in each of his first two seasons.
Middleton is asking for the players’ input on Kapler’s leadership in the clubhouse before he makes a decision on whether to fire him before the start of his third season, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Monday. Phillies general manager Matt Klentak reportedly vouched for Kapler.
Kapler was once a highly touted managerial prospect out of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. However, his managerial career got off to a shaky start when he was booed in his very first home series.
Since then, the Phillies have only finished in the middle of the pack when it comes to the National League East division, and big time acquisitions like Harper and catcher J.T. Realmuto didn’t do much to turn the tide in their favor as they finished behind the Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals and New York Mets in 2019.
While the winds of change have been in the air in most of Major League Baseball, Harper, Realmuto and Rhys Hopkins have all stood by Kapler after the disappointing season.
“It hasn't been his fault,” Harper told reporters on the final day of the season, according to the Inquirer.