Former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler has earned a second interview with the San Francisco Giants, per SirusXM’s Craig Mish. NBC Sports Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic also reported that the Giants manager search was narrowed down to three to four finalists. Kapler, along with Astros bench coach Joe Espada, have so far been named finalists. The remaining finalists have so far not been named.
Kapler, who was fired by the Phillies on Oct. 10, was also considered for the Chicago Cubs managerial opening. He was interviewed, but ultimately, the Cubs hired David Ross, who won a World Series with the team as a player in 2016.
Espada may be considered the front-runner to succeed Bruce Bochy, who retired as Giants manager after 13 seasons at the helm in San Francisco. He spent three seasons with the New York Yankees as a special assistant to general manager Brian Cashman in 2014 and became third base coach in 2015 under new Phillies manager Joe Girardi. The 44-year-old replaced current Red Sox manager Alex Cora as Astros bench coach in 2018. His experience working within the two most highly-touted organizations in baseball has certainly made him an attractive candidate.
In his search for a new manager, Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi made it clear from the get-go that the organization is looking for a candidate who is good at building relationships with players. Kapler prioritized relationship building throughout his tenure with the Phillies, which could be one of the key reasons why he was named a finalist for the position:
“I’m attempting to connect with our clubhouse and I have been for a really long time,” Kapler said in April 2018 after an anonymous player told MLB Network’s Jon Heyman “…We just need the manager to stay out of the way.” “I’ve been pretty committed to that initiative even back to the offseason. My obligation is to the players in that clubhouse and I continue to think about them nonstop and putting them in the best possible position to succeed. I also continue to think nonstop about how I can build tighter, stronger relationships with the men in that clubhouse. And I continue to think about ways that I can be more effective in my communication. I’ll stay focused on that.”
Kapler also served as director of player development for the Dodgers while Zaidi was the team’s general manager. According to Heyman, Zaidi thinks very highly of Kapler from the time they worked together in Los Angeles. Zaidi even recommended Kapler for the Phillies opening back in 2017. The ex-Phillies manager and California native was also a finalist to become the Dodgers skipper back in 2016 when Dave Roberts was hired to replace Don Mattingly.
If Kapler were to be named the 37th manager in Giants history, he would not have to wait long to face his former team. The Phillies are scheduled to face the Giants in San Francisco in a three-game series from April 27-29. Kapler would return to Citizens Bank Park later in the season in a four-game weekend series from Aug. 7-10.
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