PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies’ season ended nine days ago, and still nobody knows if Gabe Kapler will be manager next season.
A resolution, however, is expected soon.
Sources confirmed multiple reports that Phillies managing partner John Middleton met with Phillies players in person in recent days. Players have said publicly that they like playing for Kapler, but even if that remains the case behind closed doors, Middleton will have to weigh those opinions with those of others in the organization and determine what is best for the Phillies. A managerial change had been expected nine days ago, but as this process continues, nobody other than Middleton can say he knows what will happen.
Nothing would be surprising at this point.
Phillies general manager Matt Klentak believes Kapler should return for the final season of a three-year contract. He hired him. He likes him. He believes injuries should shoulder the blame for the team’s 81-81 record and 9-16 finish. It is unclear where Phillies president Andy MacPhail stands on Kapler, but it is likely that he supports his GM. Phillies fans clamoring for more people than Kapler to be held accountable for the team’s disappointing finishes each of the past two seasons – its 20-36 (.357) record the past two Septembers is the fourth-worst mark in baseball – should not hold their breath. MacPhail and Klentak will return.
The Phillies’ front office is not making the call on Kapler, but it has made other changes. The Athletic reported that head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan and assistant athletic trainer Chris Mudd did not have their contracts renewed. The front office dismissed pitching coach Chris Young last week. Charlie Manuel will not return as hitting coach, although he will return to his front office adviser’s role. That means the Phillies will be looking for a new hitting coach and pitching coach, two athletic trainers and one amateur scouting director. They could be looking for a new manager, too. That answer could come within the next 48 hours.