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Gabe Kapler is a Scapegoat For Phillies Ineptitude

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The most unenviable job in Philadelphia right now belongs to the Phillies PR team. 

 

After almost two weeks and a decision that really surprised nobody, Gabe Kapler is now the Phillies former skipper.

 

Why in the world this decision took so long, is anybody’s guess, and it has the entire Delaware Valley scratching their heads.Photo: thegoodphight.com

 

After the Phillies brass spent time in Washington during the season’s final week—a series that saw the surging Nationals take five in a row from the Fightins, one would think Phillies principal owner John Middleton, team President Andy ("If We Don't We Don't") MacPhail and GM Matt Klentak’s decision regarding Kapler’s fate would have been a little more cut and dry. Joe Maddon and the Cubs agreed to part company on the season’s final weekend, while the Mets relieved Mickey Callaway of his duties several days after the 86-75 Mets wrapped up their season. 

 

Instead, the Phillies brass dangled Kapler’s fate for almost two weeks before finally cutting him loose, while speculation concerning his future only heightened with each passing day. Reasons ranging from the Jewish holiday to Middleton receiving input from his players as the cause for the delay were mentioned in passing, but almost two weeks? The entire fanbase knew where this was headed. The Phillies seemingly didn’t? Was there that much info Middleton and his team had to gather to come to the realization that Kapler wasn’t the guy to lead the Phillies moving forward? Did Middleton’s statement released by the Phillies give anyone who read it hope that this team is going in the right direction? If anything, it was the opposite.

 

Now to Kapler. Some like him, some can’t stand him (After all, Philly doesn’t like people who aren’t like them. Trust me on this.), but he deserved better than the dog and pony show that took place in the week and change leading to his eventual dismissal. Some might say that if the fans backed Kapler, there's a chance he'd still be here, and there's probably some validity to that. You might not like what Kapler had to say sometimes, but he was always a stand up guy who never hid from the media and treated everybody with respect in his two years in the city. The lack of professionalism displayed by the Phillies here is an obvious indication that there lies a general incompetence within the organization that starts at the top. 

 

Popular opinion is that Klentak and MacPhail should have been the ones relieved of their duties, and that Kapler was the fall guy for the team’s shortcomings. What’s even more perplexing is that Klentak still has his job, and is reportedly leading the search for the next manager (who will be the third under his watch). Considering the fact that the Phillies scouting has been deplorable, their farm system has failed to develop any considerable talent under his watch (there’s no second coming of Juan Soto or Ozzie Albies down there), the starting pitching was virtually ignored going into the 2019 season, and he let Dallas Keuchal go to the division rival Braves while there was a dire need for an established arm in his team’s flailing rotation, who exactly is being held accountable for this?

 

No, this is not a case for Kapler keeping his job. There’s a lot of reasons why he’s no longer employed by the Phillies. The team suffered two straight collapses under his watch as those seasons came to a close. Everyone has their opinions on this matter and they don't need to be repeated. That said, is most of the above his fault? Hardly. The Phillies are light years away from the Nationals, Dodgers, Astros and Yankees, and it's not because of him. The Tampa Bay Rays have a $64 million payroll, and the team has been to the playoffs twice since the last time the Phillies made the postseason in 2011. If this organization isn't completely embarrassed by this, they damn well should be.

 

In the end, Kapler, after 11 days since the culmination of the Phillies’ season, is moving on, the President and GM are still here, and he’s in charge of finding his team a new manager. In the process, Middleton and the Phillies have once again turned themselves into the laughingstock of Major League Baseball. 

 

God only knows what direction this team is headed, but we can all comfort ourselves in knowing that the decisions made to make this organization respectable will either be ill-advised or probably take 11 days or more. 

 

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com                                                                                                      

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Photo: thegoodphight.com