The Philadelphia Phillies have announced that Gabe Kapler has been hired as their new manager, continuing the recent trend of former Texas Rangers players being hired as managers this offseason. Dave Martinez, Alex Cora and Mickey Callaway, who were all with the Rangers during their playing days at various times, have also been hired this offseason.
Kapler, you may recall, came over to the Rangers in the 1999-2000 offseason from Detroit, along with Justin Thompson, Frank Catalanotto, Francisco Cordero, Bill Haselman and Alan Webb, in a deal that sent Juan Gonzalez, Danny Patterson and Gregg Zaun to Detroit. Kapler was with Texas for two and a half seasons before getting sent to Colorado, along with Jason Romano, in exchange for Todd Hollandsworth and Dennys Reyes.
Kapler last played in the majors in 2010 with the Tampa Bay Rays, though he was in spring training with the Dodgers in 2011 before being released. He was a contender for the Dodgers’ managerial job in the 2015-16 offseason that resulted in Dave Roberts being hired by Los Angeles.
Kapler is seen as one of the “new school” of managers, similar to Cora, a former player who is open to new ideas and well versed in analytics. I talked to Kapler back in 2013 when the “does Yu Darvish know how to win” controversy was in full flame as part of the piece I did on the subject. He seems to be smart, open-minded, and exactly the type of manager a young team ready to go from rebuilding to trying to contend -- like the Phillies — should be looking for.