If you read between the lines, it’s not difficult to imagine what managerial candidates could be of interest to the Philadelphia Phillies if they do part ways with Gabe Kapler.
As of right now, Kapler is the Phillies manager, as he has one year remaining on his contract. It’s the worst kept secret in the baseball world, though, that Phillies managing partner John Middleton has been weighing making a change since the season wrapped up on Sept. 29 (and realistically, the weighing likely started before that).
While this decision-weighing is taking place, Matt Gelb of The Athletic says that there’s “mutual interest” between Showalter and the Phillies. That interest, of course, refers to the the team’s managerial position. Though Gelb says “there’s no indications Showalter would be the leading candidate,” a change hasn’t been made yet, so it’s hard to think that things are at a stage advanced enough for there to be a leading candidate to replace the still-employed Kapler. If Kapler is ultimately dismissed, there’s reason to think Showalter would have a real chance to be his replacement.
The 63-year-old has managed four teams – the New York Yankees from 199-1995; the Arizona Diamondbacks from 1998-2000; the Texas Rangers from 2003-2006; and the Baltimore Orioles from 2010-2018. Although teams probably shouldn’t put themselves in a box at the outset of a managerial search, if the Phillies do part ways with Kapler, it stands to reason they could ultimately choose a more experienced manager. Showalter, who has 1,551-1,517 record in 3,069 games, certainly checks that box. He’s been around long enough that most casual fans are aware of him and would likely approve of the hiring (if they had an opinion at all). How much that should matter is a fair thing to debate.
What’s more, there’s going to be a very real perception that Matt Klentak’s front office didn’t make the final decision on Kapler if he’s ultimately let go. Though Showalter may not be as analytically inclined as Klentak, the two worked together in Baltimore, where Klentak was the director of baseball operations during the first season-and-a-half of Showalter’s tenure there. Showalter’s time also overlapped with president Andy MacPhail’s time leading the Baltimore front office, and current Phillies assistant general manager Ned Rice’s stint as the Orioles director of major league administration. Hiring him may be the Phillies best chance of picking a more traditional manager, while also not giving off the impression that the front office has lost significant power.
MLB.com‘s Todd Zolecki says that if Showalter hadn’t been under contract with the Orioles when the Phillies last searched for a manager, the team would have liked to interview him. After parting ways with the Orioles after the 2018 season, Showalter sat out the 2019 season. Showalter has publicly said he would be interested in interviewing for the New York Mets vacancy this offseason. If the Phillies job ultimately becomes available, it feels like a good bet he’ll interview for that job as well.
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