While Ben Simmons was knocking down a three-pointer in a preseason game, the Phillies were doing… something. John Middleton was apparently flying around the country, getting input from players on what he should do with manager Gabe Kapler.
That leaves us to follow the bread crumbs and read between the lines where possible, since we’ve been going on about two weeks now with nothing official from the Phils front office.
Is Buck Showalter a possibility to replace Kapler?
Cataldi: I spent so much time thinking about this, Todd. I figured out who I think he (John Middleton) will listen to the most. The guy he respects the most, he stuck him back in the dugout for seven weeks to watch stuff. That’s Charlie Manuel. And I would be shocked if Manuel said to Middleton, ‘you need more Gabe.’ I don’t think they’re on the same level at all. All this other stuff will be secondary to Charlie. That’s when I realized, how can Middleton save this? Buck Showalter. Showalter worked with the two guys he’s not getting rid of – MacPhail and Klentak. They’ll have to buy that one even though they love Gabe. It’s the one guy that fits all purposes and saves the situation. I believe Buck Showalter, by the end of the week, your views?
Zolecki: Buck would make the most sense. If they fire Gabe, I think Buck will be the presumed leader in the clubhouse as far as who replaces Gabe, if they make that change. Joe Girardi I think is a similar type of manager, no nonsense, holds guys accountable and would create a little more sense of urgency in the clubhouse. But yeah, Buck, Andy MacPhail hired him to be Orioles manager years ago, he worked with Matt, he worked with the assistant GM, he has relationships with all three of those guys. That would make a lot of sense.
Zolecki went on to say that he thinks John Middleton really values Charlie Manuel’s opinion.
That interfaces well with a Tuesday story, when Matt Gelb at The Athletic wrote that there was “mutual interest” between Showalter and the Phillies:
The Phillies have entertained hypothetical scenarios if Kapler is fired. But some potential manager candidates — especially ones with jobs — are less willing to campaign for a job that is not yet open. And the Phillies haven’t decided what it is they want; players have supported Kapler in part because he permitted the clubhouse to police itself. A more experienced manager might install a different kind of structure to the ground floor of Citizens Bank Park.
This all makes Buck Showalter an intriguing figure. While a search for a potential replacement for Kapler would not be limited to Showalter, the two sides have a mutual interest, according to multiple sources. There are no indications Showalter, 63, would be the leading candidate.
Hmm.. que interesante.
There was also a tweet from MLB.com’s Jon Morosi:
If #Phillies make managerial change, remember that club president Andy MacPhail was #Cubs CEO when they hired Dusty Baker, and #Orioles president when they hired Buck Showalter; if Philly moves on from Gabe Kapler, his replacement is likely to have @MLB managerial experience.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) October 8, 2019
That’s a little more “loose,” that tweet, but does mention Showalter specifically.
Is Buck Showalter the leader in the clubhouse, both literally and figuratively?