Report: Curt Schilling Highly Interested in Phillies Managerial Position

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Curt Schilling pitched in the major leagues for 20 years, accumulating 79.5 WAR, a 3.46 ERA and a 1.137 WHIP. He was a six time All-Star and was the runner up for the Cy Young three times.

He has a solid case for the Hall of Fame, but has yet to be voted in, which has likely been influenced by his very public political views.

Schilling played more seasons for the Phillies (nine seasons, to be exact) than any other team and has been a part of many of the team's alumni events.

He was also voted into the Phillies Wall of Fame in 2013.

The Phillies dismissed manager Gabe Kapler Thursday afternoon.

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Key Moments from the Phillies Press Conference About Kapler Firing

The much-anticipated press conference in the wake of the firing of Phillies manager Gabe Kapler took place Friday afternoon.  The press conference took about an hour's time and did not seem to shed too much light on the direction of the team.

Here are five highlights from the press conference:

1. The Phillies Front Office Does Says They Do Not Know What Kind of Manager They Want Yet

Huh?  Despite the process of deciding the fate of Kapler taking a full 11 days after the conclusion of the season and with two days passing, management spoke of a future meeting in which they will decide what type of manager they will retire.  Even though the trio of president Andy MacPhail, general manager Matt Klentak and CEO John Middleton took the same flight to fire Kapler, supposedly they have not talked a new direction.

That includes whether or not the manager will be "old school" or "new school" in approach.

Surely the three have a sense of what direction they are going.  Middleton alluded to some potential candidates possibly having preferred destinations, but say they might indicate interest, nonetheless. (Think Joe Maddon being widely connected to the Los Angeles Angels, for example.)  At least publicly, they are not willing to tip their hand yet.

Continue reading "Key Moments from the Phillies Press Conference About Kapler Firing" »


Some Potential Phillies Manager Candidates

We finally learned the fate of Phillies manager Gabe Kapler on Thursday, 11 whole days after the season.  Now that Kapler has been fired, attention turns to the future: who will be the next Phillies manager? The Phillies appear to be looking for an experienced manager who will have some clout with the Phillies players.

Here is a look at some potential candidates:

Joe Girardi Girardi already interviewed for the Chicago Cubs managerial vacancy and is set to interview for the New York Mets job as well.  Girardi almost certainly will manage for somebody in 2020.  Girardi has one thing that the other managerial candidates do not possess: a World Series Championship as manager.  That World Series Championship came in 2009 against the Phillies.

The advantage for the Phillies could come in the form of bench coach Rob Thomson.  Thomson served as bench coach for Girardi in 2008 and again 2014-2015.  He served as third base coach the other seasons of Girardi's tenure as New York Yankees manager.

Of course, Thomson could depart the Phillies organization to work for Girardi.  But the fact Thomson is still with the Phillies could help their chances.

Buck Showalter This name emerged even before the firing of Kapler, when Matt Gelb of the Athletic reported that there was "mutual interest" between Showalter and the Phillies.  Showalter is connected to Phillies president Andy MacPhail and general manager Matt Klentak.  MacPhail was president of the Baltimore Orioles when Showalter joined the Orioles as manager in 2010.  Klentak was director of baseball operations.

Showalter has won manager of the year awards three times, but has never won a World Series.  When he was hired by the Orioles, some suggested that Orioles owner Peter Angelos was behind the hiring.  Might the Phillies owner do the same?

Dusty Baker Baker has notably led four franchises: The San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, and Washington Nationals.  It was MacPhail who hired Baker with the Cubs in 2002.  Upon the hiring, MacPhail discussed Baker's strength, and that is credibility with the players:

"We're very thrilled to have him," Cubs president Andy MacPhail said. "His record speaks for itself. He's an enormously popular manager with his players. As result, the field of players that would like to play for the Cubs has increased with tonight's announcement by a large amount."

Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper said once of Baker that there is "no other guy I'd want to be playing for".

Harper's influence could help other players buy in to the leadership, something which appears to have been lacking as of late.

Baker is 70 years old and may not manage for too long if he takes a job.  Could Baker take the reigns of the Phillies and allow someone like Dusty Wathan to learn under his tutelage for a couple years from now?

Joe Maddon Some have connected the Hazelton, Pennsylvania native to the Phillies due to his Pennsylvania upbringing.  But Maddon and the Los Angeles Angels may be a partnership the Phillies cannot beat.  There were reports even before Maddon left the Cubs that the Angels would consider firing their manager, Brad Ausmus, to make room for Maddon.

Ausmus was dismissed on the last day of the season.  Meanwhile, Maddon's interest in the Angels job is well-known.  This is a name the Phillies may never have the opportunity to consider.

Mike Scioscia The Delaware County native Scioscia has been a managerial free agent since his record managerial contract ended with the Los Angeles Angels in 2018.  Scioscia's former bench coach Maddon may end up there, but Scioscia has yet to be linked to any managerial posts since he left the Angels.

There has been little lately on the Scioscia front as of late, other than one Angels website suggesting he could replace Los Angeles Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts.  A Roberts dismissal is highly unlikely.  A Los Angeles Times piece last summer reported that Scioscia was working with young baseball players in Los Angeles.

Mike Matheny This is another candidate that may not be very available.  The former St. Louis Cardinals manager is currently working in the Kansas City Royals organization and has been frequently called a "favorite" to replace departing manager Ned Yost.  The Royals have not made the move yet, however.  The hold up there could be a pending change in ownership, according to some reports.

 


Phillies Dismiss Manager Gabe Kapler

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We finally have a resolution to the Gabe Kapler saga.  The Phillies have dismissed Kapler, according to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia. Kapler has one year remaining on his contract. Word previously came from Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer that face of Phillies ownership John Middleton had been reaching out to players talking about Kapler.   Middleton was behind the departure of hitting coach John Mallee and the hiring of former manager Charlie Manuel to assume the role on a pro tem basis. Matt Gelb of the Athletic says that people in the Phillies organization wanted the world to know that it would be Middleton making the decision on Kapler.  It appears the front office wanted to keep Kapler. Word broke on Friday that pitching coach Chris Young would be reassigned.  Young could pursue pitching coach jobs in other organizations, but the Phillies appear ready to retain him in a yet-to-be-defined role. Gelb also reported in the piece that all seven remaining coaches had been retained and would be retained regardless of who takes the managerial role.  That in itself would make the job less appealing to an incoming manager who wished to shape his own coaching staff.  The coaches may, however, seek promotions outside the organization later if they so choose. General manager Matt Klentak has long been declared "safe" in published reports.  Salisbury has also reported that Klentak and president Andy MacPhail are safe. Klentak scored a three-year extension prior to the 2019 season, which goes into effect this offseason.  


Sec247Pod 56: 2019 Philadelphia Phillies Postmortem

The #2Mikes become #OneMike since Lipinski is out with the manflu!  Frank Klose joins Watkins to perform an audio autopsy on the 2019 Philadelphia Phillies. 

  • A look at the MLB Postseason
  • What exactly went wrong?  
  • Who is to blame for another collapse?
  • Will Gabe Kapler be back?  
  • What does the future hold for the Fightin's!?!?

Some of the answers might shock you! 

Listen below and subscribe to the podcast! 

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Phillies Prospect Alec Bohm is Named an Arizona Fall League All-Star

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The Phillies have several prospects out in the desert playing in the Arizona Fall League.  The rosters include six Phillies prospects: pitchers Spencer Howard, Jojo Romero, and Connor Seabold, outfielder Mickey Moniak, and infielders Nick Maton and Alec Bohm.  Of the six, the Phillies will send one to the "Fall Stars" game.

The Arizona Fall League announced the rosters yesterday for the game that will take place on Saturday.  Bohm will be the lone player from the Phillies organization.  Bohm batted .390 in Arizona Fall League action, with two doubles and six runs batted in.  Bohm did not homer, but put forth an OPS of .873.

It seems likely that the Phillies will give Bohm an opportunity to report to Spring Training to compete for a job.  While it is unlikely he will make the team out of Spring Training, it is very conceivable that the Phillies could promote Bohm at some point during the season to take over the hot corner.  Bohm certainly will play into the decision making in the infield for the Phillies this offseason.

Across three levels in the Phillies organization culminating at Double-A Reading, Bohm batted .305 with 21 home runs and 80 runs batted in. Bohm compiled an OPS of .896 in his 125 games.  The 21 home runs tied Deivy Grullon for the organizational lead in 2019.

The Arizona Fall League runs until October 26.


Retained Phillies Coaches Should Not be a Barrier to a New Manager

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The baseball world still waits for a decision on Phillies manager Gabe Kapler.  Despite this uncertainty, the Phillies have moved forward on many decisions on their coaching staff.  Matt Gelb of the Athletic reported yesterday that seven coaches from last year's staff have agreed to return to Philadelphia.  Would that bother potential managerial candidates?

The seven coaches that are set to remain appear to be as follows:

  • Rob Thomson, bench coach
  • Dusty Wathan, third base coach
  • Paco Figueroa, first base coach, baserunning coach
  • Jim Gott, bullpen coach
  • David Lundquist, assistant pitching coach
  • Pedro Guerrero, assistant hitting coach
  • Bobby Dickerson, infield coach

Catching and receiving coaches Bob Stumpo and Craig Driver are usually put into another category and are pretty safe bets to return.

Would an incoming manager have a problem with so much of the staff set for him?  Maybe not.  That could depend who the candidate is.

Yesterday there was some buzz of interest between the Phillies and Buck Showalter.  Jon Morosi of MLB.com noted that if the Phillies were going to make a change, they would want someone with managerial experience.  Morosi suggested Showalter and Dusty Baker as candidates.  Joe Girardi is currently available, too.  Joe Maddon has all but returned to the Angels organization where he spent a long time.

Would these big-name, experienced managers need an entire staff of their choosing?

Very notably, there are vacancies at hitting coach and pitching coach after the dismissals of John Mallee and Chris Young, respectively.  If a new manager had some input on those key positions, he might feel as if that is enough.  And let us not forget: Thomson is highly respected as a bench coach.

Should the Phillies hire Girardi, he would be reunited with Thomson, who was on his staff the entire time he was New York Yankees manager, serving as his bench coach the first year, before moving to third base coach, and then back to bench coach.

Showalter and Baker, as Morosi noted, have been hired under team president Andy MacPhail before.   Baker did not choose all of his staff in his most recent staff with the Washington Nationals, as there were holdovers such as Rick Schu dating back to Davey Johnson.  Showalter's most recent staff included Dickerson, already on the Phillies staff, as third base and infield coach.

So while it is still possible the Phillies retain Kapler, the moves the club has been making likely do not detract from potential managerial candidates.  Who knows: maybe owner John Middleton is talking to potential managers while he flies around the country talking to players, asking for their input.   But one thing is clear: this has not been a conventional process so far, so the outcome might just surprise us.


Report: "Mutual Interest" Between the Phillies and Buck Showalter

While the Gabe Kapler saga has yet to come to an end, the Phillies front office appears to be making some contingency plans at the manager position.  With a decision expected any day now from Phillies owner John Middleton, the Phillies are moving forward with back up plans.  That could include a face very familiar to both general manager Matt Klentak and president Andy MacPhail.

According to Matt Gelb of the Athletic, there is "mutual interest" between the Phillies and Buck Showalter:

A more experienced manager might install a different kind of structure to the ground floor of Citizens Bank Park. This all makes Buck Showalter an intriguing figure. While a search for a potential replacement for Kapler would not be limited to Showalter, the two sides have a mutual interest, according to multiple sources.

Of course, there is no guarantee yet that there will be an opening at the manager position.

Showalter managed the Baltimore Orioles from 2010 through 2018.  When hired by the Baltimore Orioles, Klentak was director of baseball operations for the club, while MacPhail served as club president.  MacPhail departed the Orioles after the 2011 at the conclusion of his contract; at the same time Klentak took an assistant general manager job with the Los Angeles Angels.

Of course, it sounds like the first priority of the front office would be to keep Kapler.  Should Kapler stay, who they might otherwise hire is a moot point.  Stay tuned.

 


Callaway, Dubee, Searage Potential Phillies Pitching Coach Candidates

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

Amid the Major League Baseball postseason, the next most-followed, baseball-related storyline among Philadelphia Phillies fans is the future status of the team's coaching staff including that of manager Gabe Kapler.

On Friday, MLB.com's Todd Zolecki reported that the Phillies have told Chris Young that he will not return next season as pitching coach, and that he has been reportedly offered an opportunity to remain in the organization in another role.

With Charlie Manuel expected not to return as hitting coach, the Phillies will at least have to replace two coaches if not more pending on the fate of Kapler. Other coaches on the major-league staff have been told they will return, but per Zolecki it is "unclear who and how many."

Zolecki lists three candidates that could replace Young: former New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway who was relieved of his duties on Thursday as well as former Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee and recently dismissed Pittsburgh Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage.

Prior to joining the Mets, Callaway served as pitching coach for the Cleveland Indians from 2013 to 2017. He oversaw a staff that included notable arms Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco, and Corey Kluber

With the Pirates, Searage worked 17 years as a minor-league pitching coach and since 2010 as the major-league pitching coach.

Dubee spent 12 seasons (2002-13) in the Phillies organization, including the last nine as pitching coach. In 2012, Phillies starting pitchers led all MLB teams in innings (1033.0) and strikeouts (918), while issuing the fewest walks (231).

Young spent just one season as Phillies pitching coach, after replacing Rick Kranitz who now is with the Atlanta Braves. Zolecki notes:

Philadelphia dealt with a rash of injuries in the bullpen, but its rotation stayed mostly healthy and struggled, finishing ninth in the National League in strikeout rate (21.6 percent); 10th in xFIP (4.59); 11th in ERA (4.64) and walk rate (8.3 percent); 13th in fWAR (7.6) and home runs per nine innings (1.61); and 14th in FIP (4.91). By contrast, the 2018 rotation ranked third in FIP (3.76); fourth in strikeout rate (24.1 percent), walk rate (7.6 percent), xFIP (3.77) and WAR (14.0); sixth in home runs per nine innings (1.07) and 11th in ERA (4.12).

Before the Phillies decide among the rumored candidates that include Callaway, Dubee and Searage, the organization must first decide whether Kapler will return for a third season as manager. It is expected that decision, in particular, could come by the end of this coming week.


Phillies Reportedly Move On From Chris Young as Pitching Coach

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While Phillies owner John Middleton reportedly deliberates what he will do in terms of the manager, the first Phillies shoe appears to have dropped.  Almost as expected, pitching coach Chris Young will not return as the team's pitching coach. 

However, he may stick around. Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports the news;

Young spent just one year in the pitching coach role.

The Phillies, in fear or losing Young to other clubs, including the Atlanta Braves, promoted Young from assistant pitching coach this offseason.  That meant relieving incumbent Rick Kranitz of his duties.  It was Kranitz instead who joined the Atlanta Braves, who are currently playing in the National League Division Series.

Division seemed to come under Young as pitching coach, however.  Matt Gelb of the Athletic documented the new atmosphere under Young.  Pitchers on the Phillies staff had trouble buying in.  The Phillies may still believe in Young's pitching philosophy but try to find a better messenger to work with players. Meanwhile, Gabe Kapler has not been approached about his job status yet.  Zolecki notes that it will come next week. 

The wait time is rather curious, considering most clubs came to a conclusion about their manager before the season ended.  The New York Mets yesterday fired manager Mickey Callaway. So while it is not totally clear where the Phillies are going as they approach the offseason, finding a new pitching coach will be on their list of things to do.