Philadelphia Phillies managing partner John Middleton ultimately made the call to fire Gabe Kapler as manager after two seasons. It appears Middleton – not president Andy MacPhail or general manager Matt Klentak – may be the deciding voice in the search for the 55th manager in franchise history.
With that in mind, Jon Heyman of RADIO.COM says that while MacPhail and Klentak may like Buck Showalter because of prior experience together in Baltimore, Middleton “is leaning towards” Joe Girardi. Since Middleton ultimately determined the fate of Kapler, there’s no reason to think he won’t make the final call on who Kapler’s replacement is.
Interestingly, Middleton, per Heyman, was “polling players” on the prospects of Showalter managing the team late last week. One of those players was certainly Bryce Harper, who has 12 years left on a free-agent contract he signed in March. Jamie Apody of 6 ABC says that she’s been told by “a source close to Showalter that he HATES Bryce Harper.” It’s unclear what connection Showalter has to Harper – other than the Orioles playing the Washington Nationals – that would make him feel so strongly about the six-time All-Star. But, if true, a distaste for the most important player in the organization would seem to greatly diminish Showalter’s attractiveness as a candidate.
Though Girardi has also reportedly interviewed for the Chicago Cubs job, the division-rival New York Mets have been seen as the biggest competition for his services. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported Sunday night that he’s one of four finalists for the Mets job. The four finalists for the Mets job are believed to be Girardi, Washington Nationals first base coach Tim Bogar, ESPN analyst and former MLB first baseman/outfielder Eduardo Perez and former Mets All-Star outfielder Carlos Beltran. Andy Martino of SNY reported Saturday that Mets vice president/assistant general manager Allard Baird and special assistant to the general manager Omar Minaya are “said to be in his corner,” when referring to Beltran. Heyman added that the Mets won’t expedite their process of searching for their next manager, even if Girardi were to be offered another job.
While it’s unclear where Girardi ranks on the Mets wish-list, it increasingly appears he’s at No. 1 with the most important person in the Phillies organization. If all goes well in his second interview Monday, the next logical step would be the Phillies beginning to make a push to sign Girardi, who has said he expects to manage in 2020.
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