Rumors

John Middleton ‘polling players’ on Buck Showalter


If we’ve learned anything in the past year, it’s that Philadelphia Phillies managing partner John Middleton believes in the value of polls.

Middleton cited a poll done by MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki last offseason that asked whether Phillies fans would prefer Bryce Harper or Manny Machado as a free-agent signing. Harper overwhelmingly won the poll – which wasn’t scientific, but probably wasn’t insignificant either – and the Phillies ultimately signed him to a 13-year/$330 million free-agent contract.

In the 10-plus days that Middleton spent weighing the future of former manager Gabe Kapler, he reportedly discussed Kapler with some members of the 2019 Phillies.

And now, as the Phillies seek Kapler’s replacement, RADIO.COM’s Jon Heyman says that Middleton is “said to be polling players on Buck Showalter.”

Buck Showalter is one of the finalists for the Phillies managerial job. (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)

Matt Breen of The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Thursday that Showalter and former Miami Marlins and New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi are “considered the favorites,” to be the 55th manager in Phillies history. Showalter, per the aforementioned Zolecki, is meeting with the Phillies for a second time Friday. Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reported that Showalter cancelled scheduled appearances on the YES Network’s coverage of the ALCS on Thursday and Friday to focus on interviewing for the Phillies job.

Showalter was the Baltimore Orioles manager from July of 2010 until the conclusion of the 2018 season. During that time, current Phillies president Andy MacPhail, general manager Matt Klentak and assistant general manager Ned Rice all had stints in key roles in the Orioles front office.

That said, none of the notable players on the Phillies roster currently have played under Showalter. While it would make sense to ask Bryce Harper and Jay Bruce about how Dusty Baker would fit as the Phillies manager because they’ve played for him previously, it’s unclear what any current Phillies players would have to offer on Showalter besides occasional brief discussions with him before games and hearsay.

Thursday, multiple outlets reported that Baker interviewed Thursday for the second consecutive day, and Girardi’s second interview is expected to come Monday.

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