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.