Gabe Kapler has been hired as manager of the San Francisco Giants, and it looks like the perfect second chance for him.
It didn’t take long after Gabe Kapler was fired by the Philadelphia Phillies, following just two years in charge, that he surfaced as a candidate for the San Francisco Giants. Late on Tuesday, Kapler was officially hired to replace Bruce Bochy.
The Phillies went 161-163 in two seasons under Kapler, including 81-81 this past season after a splashy offseason with Bryce Harper as the centerpiece signing. Injuries, particularly to the bullpen and outfielder Andrew McCutchen, were a huge factor in the Phillies falling short. With expectations so high, however, the manager usually pays the price and Kapler ultimately did.
Coming off three consecutive losing seasons, the Giants don’t have the same level of immediate expectations as the Phillies do.
They are trying to get younger, and Kapler embodies that movement in replacing long-time skipper Bochy.
The Giants have had one full season under new president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, who was previously general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Before becoming Phillies’ manager, Kapler was the Dodgers director of player development from 2014-2017 when Zaidi was the organization’s GM.
So when Zaidi embarked on a search for a manager to replace retiring Giants legend Bochy, Kapler was easy to point to as a fit, and that has come to fruition.
Kapler is known to favor analytics, which along with his previous lack of managerial experience may have made him less than a perfect fit for the Phillies. A reputation for connecting with younger players and thinking outside the box also surely became less useful as Philadelphia added notable veterans.
Per the team’s announcement of his hiring, it’s interesting that Kapler is only getting a three-year contract. But if the Giants show progress next season, even aside from tangible wins and losses, an extension could come quickly.
In any case, with an organization whose philosophy and ideas should better align with his own, Kapler’s second opportunity as a manager looks like a far better fit than his first.