Gabe Kapler will interview this week for the Chicago Cubs’ manager job, which could be welcome news for the Phillies if they are hoping to take away suitors from Joe Girardi.
Kapler, fired last week by the Phillies, is familiar with Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, who was the general manager of the Red Sox when Kapler was introduced to analytics as a player in Boston.
The Cubs interviewed Girardi last week for their managerial job, and the Phillies plan to meet with him this week. Girardi and Buck Showalter, according to a source, are the early favorites for the Phillies job.
Kapler will also interview this week with the Giants, whose baseball operations are run by Farhan Zaidi, who oversaw Kapler when Kapler was the Dodgers’ minor-league director. Kapler’s time ran out in Philadelphia, but he still appears to be popular with rival teams.
The Cubs have already interviewed Will Venable, David Ross, Mark Loretta and Girardi. They announced that they also will interview Kapler and Astros bench coach Joe Espada, as they work to replace the fired Joe Maddon. The Phillies plan to interview Buck Showalter and Dusty Baker along with Girardi this week as they try to fill Kapler’s vacancy.
Epstein’s Red Sox were among the leaders of baseball’s analytical revolution in the early 2000s, and five major-league managers from this season played for the Red Sox during that era.
“I played for the Red Sox for a long period of time and I remember Ben Cherington, who was with the Boston Red Sox at the time, gave me a table,” Kapler said after he was hired by the Phillies in October 2017. “It was a run expectancy table. It was really interesting to me. I dug into it and it made me sort of become insatiable about acquiring more information like it. The run expectancy table is important.”
The Phillies finally joined the analytics movement in 2015 when they hired Matt Klentak. Two years later, they went all in with the hiring of Kapler.
“Shoot, there’s some advanced metrics that I find especially fascinating to evaluate our players, but again one of the things that I wanted to stress to everyone is that’s not the only way,” Kapler said in 2017. “I’m not an analytics guy alone. I try to use every bit of information at my fingertips. We’d be foolish not to take all that information and put it together to help us make the most informed decisions. I’ve just always been fascinated naturally by it."