On Thursday, the Philadelphia Phillies fired manager Gabe Kapler . The past couple weeks have served as both, the conclusion of Kapler's tenure, and the closest thing he delivered to high October stakes. And while he isn't solely to blame for Philadelphia's disappointing 2019, he does disembark with a career 161-163 record -- and without the same iconoclastic shine he wore in his first days.
A natural reaction whenever a manager is fired is to wonder who might replace them. We are nothing if not gossips, so we've compiled a list of 10 candidates whom the Phillies may consider for their vacancy over the coming weeks. Remember, this is art and not science. Also note: the candidates are listed in alphabetical order.
The rule of thumb is that teams tend to hire the inverse of their previous manager. Whereas Kapler was green and brimming with progressive ideas, Baker is experienced and is often mocked for his old-school approach -- mocking, it should be noted, that is not fully justified. Baker excels at interpersonal communication and getting the most out of veteran players. That he's already managed Bryce Harper in the past might be perceived as a plus, too.
Currently the Houston Astros bench coach, Espada is one of the top managerial prospects in baseball -- and has been since his days one Joe Girardi's New York Yankees staff. He seems likely to land one of the open gigs this winter. The Phillies might prefer to hire someone with past managerial experience, which would preclude Espada. Again, though, he'll be fine.
It's easy to forget that Farrell is a former World Series-winning manager given how often he seems to get overlooked in these exercises. He has sufficient experience with both the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox, and is a known candidate elsewhere, with the Los Angeles Angels. More recently, Farrell has done TV work and has helped out with the Cincinnati Reds.
Girardi has also done TV work since being dismissed by the Yankees after the 2017 season, but his candidacy in multiple places is well known. That he has experience dealing with high expectations and a tough local media market are probably pluses, all things considered.
Maddon seems likelierthan anywhere else, but until pen meets paper he's worth including. Remember, Maddon is from Pennsylvania. Whether or not that makes him more appealing to the Phillies (or vice versa) is anyone's guess. His track record merits consideration, too.
OK, we're mostly joking here. Manuel did join the Phillies bench late in the season as hitting coach, however, so who knows. He would certainly qualify as the inverse of Kapler.
Scioscia, like Maddon, is also from Pennsylvania. Him landing with the Phillies used to be a popular rumor, and while it's unclear if there was ever any merit to it beyond the geographical tie, his availability and experience makes him a potential candidate.
Of the former managers listed here, we think Showalter is the most realistic. He's worked in the past with Andy MacPhail and Matt Klentak, and is known as a turnaround artist, having guided each of his previous four teams to at least 15 more wins in his second full season versus his first. The Phillies don't need that dramatic of a shift to find themselves in postseason contention.
Currently the Phillies' bench coach, Thomson has received managerial interest in the past. It's unclear if the Phillies are or would be open to installing someone from Kapler's staff, making it tougher to gauge if Thomson is a viable candidate.
Ditto for Wathan, who served as Kapler's third-base coach. Wathan does have a long history with the organization, and almost landed the job a few years back. It stands to reason he could stick around in some capacity even if he's not viewed as a realistic candidate himself.