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Phillies decision on Gabe Kapler expected next week, but Matt Klentak’s status not in doubt

A source said that John Middleton isn't contemplating the future of the general manager.

General manager Matt Klentak left,  and manager Gabe Kapler during a press conference in August.
General manager Matt Klentak left, and manager Gabe Kapler during a press conference in August.Read moreSTEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer

John Middleton is expected to make a decision next week on the status of manager Gabe Kapler, but a source said Friday that the Phillies’ managing partner is not contemplating the future of general manager Matt Klentak.

Klentak is entering the first year of a three-year contract extension that runs through 2022. A source indicated Friday morning that the GM is going about business as usual. Another source said Friday that Klentak’s status “was never in question.”

The general manager appears safe, but he’s waiting to hear if his manager is, too.

The Phillies have yet to determine if Kapler will return in 2020 for the final year of his three-year contract. Klentak defended Kapler during the final month of the season, but the manager’s future is being determined by Middleton. Kapler has been reporting all week to Citizens Bank Park, working in his manager’s office without assurance that it will be his in 2020.

The Phillies finished the season with a .500 record, winning just one more game than they did in 2018 despite investing nearly a half-billion dollars in their roster last offseason. Middleton, desperate to win, was not happy. But perhaps he could determine that replacing pitching coach Chris Young, who was fired Friday morning, could be enough change.

A decision was expected earlier this week before the start of baseball’s postseason, but Middleton was not yet ready. He’s spent the week talking to people both inside and outside the organization, gathering as much information as he can about Kapler.

Determining the manager’s fate is at least the fourth major decision that Middleton, not Klentak, has engineered in the last two years. It was Middleton who pushed for the signings of both Jake Arrieta and Bryce Harper. And it was Middleton who replaced hitting coach John Mallee in August with Charlie Manuel. Now, Middleton is determining if Kapler returns while everyone else waits.