What’s up with the Phils?
Anybody doing anything over there?
NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury dropped a new Phillies column this afternoon titled “Phillies owner John Middleton’s inquisition almost complete — will he sack Gabe Kapler or will Phillies skipper break free?”
There aren’t a lot of hard statements in the story, but Salisbury is more plugged in than most people down at Citizens Bank Park, so his stuff is always worth parsing to see what we can find.
Salisbury reports that John Middleton has yet to “render a verdict” on the future of manager Gabe Kapler.
And make no mistake. It is very much Middleton’s inquisition. He started asking critical questions about his baseball team and its leadership back in July, at Hall of Fame weekend in Cooperstown. In recent weeks, he’s continued to dig in deeply on the matter, inside and outside the organization, from the clubhouse level — where Bryce Harper said he would always be available to chat with the owner if asked — to the executive level. The answers have left him focusing squarely on Kapler, though another season of mediocrity and disappointment like this last one will have him focusing higher up the organizational chain next year.
If Middleton’s investigation of Kapler’s worthiness of another season leading the Phillies’ on-field ops were a football field, it would be in the red zone because a decision is expected any time now — maybe later on Monday, Tuesday feels like a realistic target, Wednesday at the latest.
Ok. So the focus is on Kapler. Tuesday feels like the time for a news drop, but he’s not ruling out something later today.
General manager Matt Klentak does not want to let Kapler go. Why would he? Kapler was his signature hire and to fire him would be to put his own backside on the front griddle, and to replace him with someone like Joe Girardi or Buck Showalter would cost him some of the authority he had over the manager’s position.
It’s not clear where club president Andy MacPhail stands on Kapler. He’s always seemed to be somewhere in the gray middle, but then again, he’s always given his man, Klentak, the autonomy to run baseball ops the way he sees fit — until moments like these when ownership steps in.
Salisbury also says Kapler met with Middleton while spending the first week of the offseason “in and out of the ballpark.”
That’s about it, just some reiteration that this is John Middleton’s call, and nobody else’s.
The only other nugget I saw out there today was this:
Joe Maddon will be the first of four candidates to interview this afternoon for the #Angels managerial opening. Maddon is the favorite but no decision will be made until all four candidates have interviews in Anaheim.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) October 7, 2019
Sources: Joe Maddon interviews with the #LAAngels today. Word is, he’s their top choice, and they are his top choice. Things look lined up for a Maddon/Angels marriage.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) October 7, 2019
We shall see what happens here. Middleton might wanna get moving here, because other teams have already canned their managers and are interviewing possible replacements.