Last offseason, former Philadelphia Phillies third baseman David Bell was one of the more sought after managerial candidates, and ultimately was hired by the Cincinnati Reds as their manager. It’s day one of the offseason for teams that missed the postseason, but another former Phillie appears to be of interest to multiple teams already.
MLB.com‘s Jon Morosi says that former Phillies left fielder Raul Ibanez “will be considered” for the Chicago Cubs managerial opening. The Cubs parted ways with Joe Maddon after Sunday’s season finale. Morosi added that Ibanez, now 47, “has long been viewed as a candidate for the San Francisco Giants managerial vacancy.” Sunday was the final game that three-time World Series Champion Bruce Bochy managed. Ibanez is a special assistant to the general manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers currently. The Dodgers general manager from 2014-2018 was current Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi.
Whether Ibanez manages in 2020 or not likely will be up to him. Ibanez was a finalist to replace Joe Maddon in Tampa Bay in Dec. of 2014, but ultimately withdrew his name from consideration and Kevin Cash was hired. Since then, Ibanez has been hesitant to interview for managerial openings, including when the New York Yankees job became available after the 2017 season.
The Phillies have yet to make a call on the future of their manager, Gabe Kapler. However, it does appear things are trending in the direction of him not returning for a third season, with RADIO.COM MLB Insider Jon Heyman saying Monday that the Phillies are “more likely than not” to move on from Kapler.
If the Phillies did move on from Kapler, Ibanez, who played for the team from 2009-2011, would seemingly be a pretty ideal candidate. Ibanez was an All-Star for the Phillies in 2009, and helped the team to win their second consecutive National League pennant. That gives him legitimacy with the fanbase. During his career, he was seen as one of the best clubhouse presences in the sport, which is one of the reasons he played through his age-42 season. At 47, he’s still much younger than a bunch of other potential candidates, something valued by front offices. He’s currently working in one of the more analytically-inclined organizations, which would likely mean he would be comfortable collaborating with general manager Matt Klentak’s front office. There’s a lot to like about Ibanez as a potential manager, especially in Philadelphia.
Of course, the Phillies haven’t fired Kapler, who is under contract for 2020. If they ultimately decide to make a change at manager, it would seemingly behoove them to do it as soon as possible. After the Angels fired Brad Ausmus Monday, there are six managerial vacancies in baseball. If the New York Mets part ways with Mickey Callaway, that would make seven. Whether it’s Ibanez or anyone else, attractive managerial candidates aren’t going to wait for the Phillies to potentially make a change at manager if other teams are interested in interviewing them.
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