For what it’s worth, the Philadelphia Phillies two most prominent position players publicly vouched for manager Gabe Kapler Sunday, after the Phillies finished one of the more disappointing seasons in franchise history at just 81-81.
Kapler, who is under contract for 2020, wasn’t interested in discussing his future after Sunday’s season-ending loss to the Miami Marlins. MLB.com‘s Todd Zolecki wrote that “the feeling throughout the organization is that a change is likely, but the Phillies might not make an announcement for a few days.”
There were conflicting reports about how Bryce Harper perceived Kapler when the Phillies were attempting to woo him as a free-agent last offseason, but Sunday, he pointed to all the injuries that the Phillies dealt with in a defense of his manager.
“It hasn’t been his fault,” Harper said after the game to the assembled media, which included Scott Lauber of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “He’s had some tough decisions to make…bullpen-wise…lineup-wise…not having your leadoff guy…not having your set-up guys. A lot of guys have been thrown into the fire this year from Double-A and Triple-A. So, I mean, it’s just how the season goes. It’s part of it. We’re going to build on that next year, hopefully. I love our staff. I enjoy our staff. I enjoy playing for our staff. They’ve made me better each day and I appreciate that.”
Realmuto, who the Phillies acquired in a blockbuster February trade from the division-rival Miami Marlins, missed the final week plus of the season with a meniscus injury that he had surgery on Friday. Still, his first season with the Phillies was overwhelmingly successful on an individual level. He was the team’s lone All-Star, threw out 37 would-be basestealers and finished the season with a 5.7 fWAR, a rather staggering total for a catcher.
Though he remains under team control for 2020, there appears to be mutual interest between Realmuto and the Phillies in signing a long-term deal this offseason. Sunday, Realmuto gave a rather impassioned backing of Kapler.
“As of now, I expect to see him to be back here,” Realmuto said. “We feel like he’s done a great job for us. He gets the guys to play hard. We all love playing for him. He’s been our manager all year and nobody’s had anything to say about it. We’re obviously had a rough last couple of weeks and fell out of contention. For me, Gabe’s our manager. He’s a guy that this clubhouse really respects.”
MORE FROM PHILLIES NATION
- Andrew McCutchen: ‘We’ll Be Better In 2020, Believe It’
- Bryce Harper: We Will Reign Again
- Matt Klentak: We Want J.T. Realmuto To Be A Phillie For A ‘Long, Long Time’
- Get Ready To Hear The Phillies Connected To 2 Nationals Quite A Bit
- Alex Cora: Aaron Nola Is The Best Pitcher We’ve Faced The Last Two Seasons
- Matt Klentak Says Scott Kingery’s Versatility Makes Him ‘Incredibly Valuable’
- What Would A Long-Term Deal Look Like For J.T. Realmuto?
- Phillies Reportedly Considered Waiving Maikel Franco Before Season’s End
- Bryce Harper: It Would Be ‘An Absolute Joke’ If J.T. Realmuto Doesn’t Win Gold Glove Award
- Mike Scioscia Reportedly Would Have Interest In Managing Phillies