Gabe Kapler is no longer the manager of the Phillies.
Kapler was fired on Thursday morning after 10 days of consideration by the team following a disappointing finish to a season many expected would see the Phillies return to the playoffs. According to Phillies beat writer Matt Breen, Kapler was under contract for 2020, and was shown the door after the Phillies invested nearly a half-billion dollars in the team’s roster during the off-season.
“As I move on, I know that this organization is in a great spot and will see a lot of success going forward,” Kapler said in a statement. “My hope is that I helped contribute to a developing culture in the organization that flourishes in the years to come. I’ve come to care for this franchise and have the best wishes for this group in the future.”
Despite his rough tenure with the Phillies, USA Today baseball columnist Bob Nightengale thinks Kapler is a strong candidate to become the next manager of the San Francisco Giants following the retirement of Bruce Bochy:
AP reporter Rob Maaddi thought the decision to fire Kapler was due more to pressure from fans than his performance with the team:
Inquirer columnist Mike Sielski took the opportunity to remind fans that managing partner John Middleton and the team used a fan poll to inform their decision about signing free-agent slugger Bryce Harper during the off-season:
NBC Sports Philadelphia cut into Traveling Golfer to cover Kapler’s firing live, turning to 97.5 The Fanatic host Marc Farzetta and Phillies reporter Jim Salisbury for ongoing coverage.
“To rip up the front office would be too much in one chuck. This was a small bite, and a bite that can have an impact as soon as next season,” Salisbury said, adding it depended on whom the Phillies hired to replace Kapler. Salisbury also agreed that pressure from fans about Kapler played a role in his ouster.
“I know enough about John Middletown and his views that it played a role,” Salisbury said. “There were a lot of blue seats out there, and [Middleton] saw them.”
Few have been as critical of Kapler as WIP morning show host Angelo Cataldi, who battled on-air with the former Phillies manager several times despite the station’s relationship with the team. Here’s how Cataldi reacted to the news of Kapler’s firing:
There were a number of people who defended Kapler, calling him a “scapegoat” for bad decisions made by general manager Matt Klentak:
WIP afternoon host Ike Reese took issue with those upset over Kapler’s firing:
If anything, many Phillies fans and sports media pundits were upset that general manager Matt Klentak wasn’t also shown the door:
Here’s more reaction to Kapler’s firing from fans and pundits on social media: