Phillies’ Kapler Hopes to “Bring That Effing Trophy Back”
The Phillies introduced new manager Gabe Kapler at Citizens Bank Park on Thursday afternoon. Kapler put on his new number 22 red-pinstriped Phillies jersey for the first time and had a chance to answers some questions from the media.
Speaking first Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said that "within two minutes" after the Phillies announced they were re-assigning Pete Mackanin, he was hit with a barrage of recommendations. But the Phillies spent the next several weeks with initial phone interviews, in-person interviews with a small core of Phillies personnel, and then a long day with a wide variety of Phillies staff throughout the organization.
After the interviews, one name, Klentak said, stood above the rest. The Phillies were looking for a "progressive" thinker, and Klentak said that looking at the managers in the World Series this year and last, "That's where the Phillies need to head and Gabe Kapler will be a huge part of this as we head to the future".
Kapler spoke next and framed his managerial philosophy through the mention of some Phillies legends. By name, Kapler mentioned Mike Schmidt, the "ferocious" Larry Bowa, Charlie Manuel, Ryan Howard, and most certainly Chase Utley. Kapler worked for Utley's Los Angeles Dodgers during Utley's tenure in Los Angeles:
"We're going to play with that same level of intent and that same level of intensity that Chase played with".
That comment surely was aimed at instantly endearing himself to Phillies fans. Also likely to endear himself to Phillies fans: a stated desire to "Bring that effing trophy back to John Middleton".
The media's questions often came back to the question of kaplifestyle.com, Kapler's blog that focuses on fitness, mental, and physical health. Some of the posts got some negative attention over the years, such as this one in which Kapler using advocated using coconut oil for certain NSFW purposes. Others are more harmless, advocating eating goat and egg yolks for their nutritional benefit.
"We went through them very thoroughly", said Klentak. "That's part of what we're embracing here. Kap's willingness to ask questions, and 'hunt value on the margins'".
Asked about a potential coaching staff, Kapler did not mention any particular decisions, but said that he hoped to have a diverse coaching staff. While he himself may be more analytically-minded, he welcomes other perspectives in the dugout with him, and hopes that minds thinking differently could help inform his managerial decisions.
The offseason officially begins today, and players may start filing for free agency. The Phillies likely will begin making roster decisions that open up space on the 40-man roster for some prospects they hope to protect from the Rule 5 draft. The Phillies have until November 6 to make qualifying offers to their free agents. The Phillies have no players likely to receive such an offer.