The San Francisco Giants have their new manager. Tuesday night the Giants named former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler their new skipper to replace the retired Bruce Bochy, the team announced. Kapler was reportedly one of three finalists for the job along with Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Rays bench coach Mike Quatraro.
"Our top priority in the next manager was to find someone who can build strong relationships with our players, coaches, front office and fans, and someone who has the drive and desire to win," president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said in a statement. "After an exhaustive and comprehensive search, we are delighted to welcome Gabe Kapler as the next manager of the San Francisco Giants."
Kapler, 44, was let go by the Phillies last month after the team went 161-163 in his two years at the helm. He has a relationship with Zaidi that dates back to their time with the Dodgers. Kapler was the Dodgers' director of player development from 2014-17, when Zaidi was the team's general manager. Kapler received a three-year contract, the Giants say
Despite his underwhelming stint with the Phillies, the Giants were likely drawn to Kapler because he is an outside-the-box thinker with a reputation for connecting with players, particularly younger players. San Francisco is coming off three consecutive losing seasons and they are trying to get younger. They believe Kapler can help their youngsters develop.
"In my personal experience in working with Gabe, there is no one who works harder and is more committed to getting the best out of the people around him," Zaidi added. "This was also echoed in the feedback we received around the baseball community. I look forward to working with Gabe to help return the Giants to its winning tradition."
The Giants just wrapped up their first season under Zaidi, who remade the team's outfield on the fly and turned three relievers (Sam Dyson, Mark Melancon, Drew Pomeranz) into five prospects at the trade deadline. San Francisco might be a few years away from contention, but Zaidi & Co. have started to get the club moving in the right direction.
Kapler replaces Bochy, a future Hall of Fame manager, who stepped down following the season. Bochy had served as the team's manager since 2007 -- he was the longest tenured manager in baseball before stepping down -- and managed the club during its three titles in five years stretch from 2010-14.
The Giants are one of eight teams to change managers this offseason, joining the Angels (Mike Scioscia), Cubs (David Ross), Mets (Carlos Beltran), Padres (Jayce Tingler), Phillies (Joe Girardi), and Royals (Mike Matheny). The Pirates have yet to announce their new manager. They need to find a general manager first.
Madison Bumgarner, a free agent.. Harris will be Zaidi's right-hand man. San Francisco now has to fill out Kapler's coaching staff, and figure out whether to pursue a long-term reunion with franchise icon