The Houston Astros may be locked up with the New York Yankees in a contentious ALCS, but bench coach Joe Espada is already looking ahead — at least a little bit.
Mark Feinsand of MLB Network reports that Espada is in Chicago on Monday and will interview with the Cubs for their vacant manager position.
Astros bench coach Joe Espada is interviewing with the Cubs today for their manager job.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) October 14, 2019
Although managerial interviews during the playoffs aren’t entirely out of the norm, it’s at least somewhat surprising to see the Astros allowing Espada to interview ahead of a crucial Game 3. However, the Cubs are adamant they’d like to wrap up their search as quickly as possible and were determined to meet with Espada before a decision on their next manager was made.
In addition to Espada, the Cubs will also interview former Philadelphia Phillies skipper Gabe Kapler, according to MLB.com beat writer Jordan Bastian.
Cubs also scheduled to interview Gabe Kapler this week. https://t.co/gOchaqQSut
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) October 14, 2019
Kapler is also high on the list to take over in San Francisco, and is scheduled to meet with the Giants later this week.
Gabe Kapler was fired by the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday after just two seasons with the team, and some think he should have been given a better shot after compiling a .500 record over that span. However, it seems like there is a good chance the 44-year-old will not be unemployed for long.
Several teams are looking for new managers this offseason, and Kapler is hoping to score one of those jobs. The San Francisco Giants may make the most sense, as Kapler has a strong relationship with president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) October 10, 2019
Gabe Kapler would like to manage in 2020. There’s 8 openings but a ton of competition. One possibility might be #SFGiants. Farhan Zaidi gave GK big recommendation for Philly. Tho, as said here, Mark Kotsay looks like a strong candidate there.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) October 10, 2019
While the Phillies fell short of expectations by missing the playoffs this season after spending a ton of money, Kapler’s time with the team was far from a disaster. He had some miscommunications with players and made his fair share of mistakes, but ultimately guys like Bryce Harper did not earn their paychecks. Philly also dealt with some key injuries early on, most notably when star outfielder Andrew McCutchen tore his ACL in June and was ruled out for the remainder of the year.
Even Kapler’s own boss gave him a huge vote of confidence less than four months ago, so it would not be a surprise to see him get another shot as a manager immediately.
The Philadelphia Phillies announced on Thursday that they have fired manager Gabe Kapler after his two seasons with the team, and they may be searching for an experienced replacement.
Buck Showalter and Mike Scioscia are two candidates to watch for the Phillies job, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. Joe Maddon would also likely have some interest if things didn’t work out for him with the Los Angeles Angels, but it sounds like Maddon already has a handshake agreement in place.
Joe Maddon’s top choice is to manage the #Angels, followed by the #Dodgers, but the #Phillies certainly pique his interest. Buck Showalter, who already has an interview scheduled with #Angels, also strong candidate along with Mike Scioscia
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) October 10, 2019
The Phillies made a series of huge moves last offseason, the most noteworthy of which was signing Bryce Harper to a 13-year, $330 million contract. They then struggled for the majority of the year and finished with a .500 record, and the belief all along is that Kapler would not keep his job unless there were immediate results.
Showalter has already admitted that he would like to be considered for another managerial vacancy, and he would almost certainly be interested in the Phillies job as well. The 63-year-old last managed with the Baltimore Orioles from 2010-2018.
Scioscia stepped down last year after 19 seasons with the Angels and took the 2019 season off. He could also have multiple opportunities now that the Phillies job has opened up.
MLB players being benched for a lack of hustle isn’t particularly a new thing. Typically, though, when it happens, the player is at least told why.
There seemed to be some confusion in that department between Philadelphia Phillies manager Gabe Kapler and second baseman Cesar Hernandez. In Sunday’s game, Hernandez hit a fly ball off the wall that he watched, thinking it was a home run. He only reached first, but ultimately scored on a home run by Rhys Hoskins.
Hernandez was not lifted from the game, though Kapler was critical of his lack of hustle after the game. Subsequently, Hernandez was left out of Monday’s lineup, with Kapler citing that lack of hustle as the reason.
Just one problem: that came as news to Hernandez, who claimed Kapler had told him it was unrelated.
Very odd sequence just now. Gabe Kapler, in his office with reporters, said César Hernández is benched because he did not run hard yesterday. But Hernández then said he was told by Kapler that it had nothing to do with yesterday.
— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) August 26, 2019
Kapler said he would clarify with Hernandez that the benching was in response to Sunday, but it’s still an odd look. Sure, common sense might have dictated to Hernandez that the two things were connected, but that clearly didn’t happen. Maybe the wires simply got crossed. It still doesn’t explain why Hernandez wasn’t simply pulled from Sunday’s game, though.
Interestingly, a similar thing happened to one of Philadelphia’s divison rivals earlier this year. In that instance, it was the player who thought it was disciplinary, while the manager denied it.
The struggling Philadelphia Phillies are in serious danger of missing the playoffs after an offseason of major investment, but manager Gabe Kapler isn’t worrying about what that might mean for his job.
Kapler said Wednesday that he won’t “manage scared” no matter what is said about his job security.
“I’m not going to manage scared,” Kapler told Angelo Cataldi and the Morning Team of 94 WIP. “I didn’t play scared. I fought and gave everything I had every single day. You’re going to manage in the same way. So, if I get fired I do and it’ll be a hard day for me to deal with, but I’m not going to waste a single ounce of my mental or emotional energy thinking about myself when I could be thinking about how I could help us win tonight’s game. The players, those 25 men battling out there, those are the ones that matter.”
- Gabe Kapler
Though we’re nearly halfway through the season, we have yet to see an in-season managerial change in Major League Baseball this year. Will that stay the case? It’s hard to say, though there are certainly some who could lose their job tomorrow and few would be surprised.
Even if no changes are imminent, there are a number of managers whose statuses are up in the air beyond the 2019 season, and can’t be feeling all that comfortable in their seats right now. Here are eight managers who are under increasing pressure in 2019 if they want to keep their job going forward.
8. Mike Shildt, Cardinals
Shildt took over as the Cardinals’ interim manager last year and had that tag removed in August. Just shy of a year on, it’s tough to argue that he’s moved the organization forward, as they hover a few games above .500 despite a busy offseason that was meant to put them back in the mix for a World Series. Shildt is probably not in any imminent danger, and will see out the season unless the Cardinals really fall into a tailspin, but the Cardinals, as an organization, typically demand more than he has delivered so far.
Gabe Kapler went over 230 games in his managerial career without ever being ejected from a game. And now he’s been ejected twice in the span of four days.
Kapler was tossed from Tuesday’s Philadelphia Phillies-New York Mets game by umpire Joe West after protesting a decision.
Wilmer Font had just given up back-to-back home runs to the Phillies, blowing a 5-2 lead in the sixth as Philly took a 7-5 lead. After surrendering the two homers, Font hit Scott Kingery with a pitch high on the shoulder.
Rather than immediately eject Font, West issued warnings to both sides. That left the Phillies in a bad spot; not only was Font spared an ejection, but if Philly tried to exact revenge by hitting a Mets player, their player would have been tossed. Kapler came out to argue and was quickly ejected.
Gabe Kapler had never been ejected as a manager until this week.
He has now been ejected twice. pic.twitter.com/zDS7AEZxOy
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) June 26, 2019
Kapler seemed to have a good case for being upset.
Kapler was also ejected on Saturday against the Marlins, ironically on a play also involving Kingery being hit.