It appears very likely that day four of Gabe Kapler watch will end without the Philadelphia Phillies making a decision on whether the 44-year-old will return for a third year as the team’s skipper. The rest of the league, though, isn’t holding their breath waiting for the Phillies to make a decision.
The New York Mets fired manager Mickey Callaway – who was interviewed for the Phillies managerial vacancy in October of 2017 – Thursday, meaning that there are now seven teams in search of a new manager.
Two names with Phillies connections could become candidates to fill one of those positions. Former Phillies outfielder Raul Ibanez is currently a special assistant to the general manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers and could emerge as one of the most sought after managerial candidates this offseason. And don’t sleep on Phillies major league player information coordinator Sam Fuld as someone that may be of interest to teams, because the rest of the league isn’t.
Fuld played in parts of nine major league seasons with the Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Rays, Oakland Athletics and Minnesota Twins. He’s also a very sharp guy – he has an economics degree from Stanford. Those two things piqued the interest of the Phillies, who hired Fuld in November of 2017 after his career concluded to serve as the go-between from the front office and coaching staff to players, who, in theory, are more likely to consider analytical type changes to their approach from someone they believe has been in their shoes. Fuld is still only 37, and played in the majors as recently as 2015, which made him the ideal candidate to fill this role.
It also may make him an ideal candidate to manage for an analytically-inclined organization. In fact, the Toronto Blue Jays interviewed Fuld for their managerial vacancy last offseason, before he ultimately withdrew his name from consideration. That said, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic said Fuld made “a strong impression” on Blue Jays brass in his interview. It stands to reason he could do that again this offseason, and if he doesn’t pull himself out of consideration, perhaps he’ll land a managerial gig.
Jayson Stark of The Athletic mentioned him as someone teams could consider this offseason on his latest podcast. Joel Sherman of The New York Post pointed to him as a potential “off the beaten road” candidate for the Mets vacancy, though he’s not that off the road if he interviewed for a job last offseason and is likely to appear on the initial candidates list for at least a few teams this offseason.
If the Phillies do ultimately make a managerial change, it’s not hard to fathom Fuld getting an interview, though the guess here is that his profile (young, analytically-inclined former outfielder) is probably too similar to Kapler from an optics perspective to gain a ton of traction. That, though, assumes that if the Phillies fire Kapler, it will still be this current front office searching for the manager. The longer that Kapler watch lasts, the more you wonder if managing partner John Middleton won’t make some changes to the team’s front office structure.
MORE FROM PHILLIES NATION
- Former Phillie Raul Ibanez Could Be Offseason’s Hottest Managerial Candidate
- Phillies Reportedly Considering Moving Jean Segura To Different Position
- 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
- Matt Klentak Says Scott Kingery’s Versatility Makes Him ‘Incredibly Valuable’
- What Would A Long-Term Deal Look Like For J.T. Realmuto?
- Phillies Would Have Interviewed Buck Showalter If Available In 2017, Per Report
- Tim Kelly’s 2019 IBWAA Awards Ballot