The Phillies were still clinging to their fading playoff dreams late last month, when general manager Matt Klentak declined to confirm whether manager Gabe Kapler would return for the final year of his contract.
“There’ll be plenty of time to talk about 2020 after this year,” Klentak said.
Well, the season ended on Sunday, yet no one seems willing to talk about 2020. The Phillies have yet to clarify Kapler’s status for next season.
Kapler, not knowing where he stands, continued to work this week at Citizens Bank Park as if business was normal. Wednesday appeared to be a prime day to make an announcement, since it was the final day before division series play begins, but there seems to be no timetable for when it will happen. The Phillies are expected to eventually confirm Kapler’s status, even if he is returning.
There are already six manager openings for next season, meaning the Phillies could fall behind if they wait too long to make a change. The Mets will make a decision on manager Mickey Callaway by Thursday, according to a report on SNY-TV.
Principal owner John Middleton was on the road with the team during its final road trip, but did that provide enough information for him to make a decision? Klentak is standing behind Kapler, whom he hired before the 2018 season and staunchly defended all year. Middleton is likely seeking as much input as possible, including from players like Bryce Harper, who said he would be open to a conversation about the manager. Kapler still believes he is the best man for the job, but he’s still waiting to hear whether the job is his.