Two weeks ago I wrote about the IMPROBABLE scenario of Gabe Kapler being relieved of his managerial duties, while Phillies GM Matt Klentak and team President Andy MacPhail were allowed to remain in power. It would’ve be madness to pull the plug on the man handpicked by both Klentak and MacPhail and then allow the two to choose his replacement, while expecting it to work out.
Reason stood if Kapler went, he should have been followed by his two biggest fans, tarred and feathered with the shredding of millions of analytic-based spreadsheets that showed empirical evidence that the Phillies have been abject failures since 2011.
But now Kapler is gone. Klentak and MacPhail are picking his replacement. Both still have their jobs.
John Middleton made sure the insane asylum continued to be open for business, and, baby, business-is-a-boomin’ in South Philadelphia.
In the immortal words of George Costanza: “You wanna get nuts? Let’s get nuts.”
It’s a simple testament to reason, if you consider it for a moment. Klentak and MacPhail handpicked Kapler to be the manager of the Phillies in 2018. Kapler was relieved of his duties due to underwhelming results in two seasons. Klentak and MacPhail should not be entrusted with the decision to select the next manager due to their incompetence in choosing Kapler and should be fired with him. Smarter minds should choose the next direction of the franchise.
But in this alternate dimension of Middleton’s creation, both Klentak and MacPhail have kept their jobs. Both are being charged with setting the course of a floundering franchise. Both still have the opportunity to put an entire fanbase on suicide watch with their incompetent decision-making and blind dedication to the grand-being that is known only as “analytics.”
It’s like they’re an engineering firm that cheaped out on building materials for a skyscraper that collapsed mid-construction and killed an entire work crew. Sorry, fellas, you don’t get to say, “aww shucks we’ll get em’ next time,” and start designing the next building with no consequences. What you deserve is a punch to the throat and to never get another job again because you sucked at it in the first place and everyone hates you.
And who are the choices to replace Kapler? Who are the saviors handpicked by our vaunted braintrust? Three retreads in Joe Girardi, Buck Showalter, and Dusty Baker(!), who already failed miserably at his job with Bryce Harper years ago.
Of the three, Girardi would probably be the most preferable. He has a ring -at the Phillies expense, no less- knows how to manage superstars, and will have no problem with the analytical meddling that is job duty 1 and 1A with the position. If Klentak wants Vince Velasquez to stay in the rotation because the “numbers” say he was one of the most effective pitchers in baseball last season (and you know he will) despite everyone seeing he was hot garbage, then Girardi won’t buck. He dealt with Brian Cashman for years, he can handle Klentak.
Showalter has managed for approximately 900 seasons and he’s never gotten a team to a World Series. Baker will be run out of town in June after allowing Aaron Nola to throw 167 pitches in a complete game loss to the Mets that resulted in him needing Tommy John surgery to both arms.
The choices are less than thrilling and the leadership in charge of making them is even worse.
The Phillies Phuture is dim. I weep for the children we’re leaving this franchise to.