The Philadelphia Phillies fell to the Miami Marlins Sunday, ending one of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history. After an offseason that saw the Phillies land Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Andrew McCutchen, Jean Segura and David Robertson, among others, the club finished at 81-81. They did break a six-year streak of losing seasons, but ultimately finished in fourth place in the National League East and without a winning record for the eighth consecutive season.
Given that general manager Matt Klentak signed an extension through 2022 in March, it doesn’t feel likely he will be dismissed, even if there are legitimate criticisms to be made of how his front office assembled their pitching staff. The Phillies already fired hitting coach John Mallee in August, and Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia says that first-year pitching coach Chris Young is “likely to be a casualty.” But it seems increasingly unlikely that a shake-up on manager Gabe Kapler’s staff will be the only move made after such a trying campaign.
In fact, MLB.com‘s Todd Zolecki says that “feeling throughout the organization is that a change is likely, but the Phillies might not make an announcement for a few days,” in regards to Kapler’s future. Kapler, who the Phillies hired in October of 2017, has one year left on his contract. In January of 2018, he famously laid out how the Phillies would win “a shitload of games” under his guidance. While he may not have expected that to happen immediately, the Phillies are 161-163 the first two years of his tenure.
Klentak, who has been the Phillies general manager since October of 2015, led the search that concluded with Kapler’s hiring and has consistently voiced support for his skipper. USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale wrote in early August that “the prevailing belief among Phillies executives is that Kapler’s job is safe.” That, though, was before the Phillies fired Mallee and replaced him with Charlie Manuel – a move that managing partner John Middleton reportedly led. ESPN‘s Buster Olney suggested Sunday that the decision could come down what Middleton wants. Middleton was in the dugout at the conclusion of the Phillies game Sunday and was photographed shaking hands with Kapler after the game. It’s unclear if the next time that the two shake hands if Kapler will still be employed by the Phillies.
As far as his future, Kapler wasn’t interested in discussing it after Sunday’s game with the collective media, which included Scott Lauber of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
“It’s definitely not a conversation that I need to have right now in this room. It’s a private conversation. My job is to focus on managing the Phillies, even after game 162.”
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