There’s a surprising new candidate in the Cubs’ managerial search, though I suppose it’s a guy who makes sense to at least talk to.
Cubs will interview Gabe Kapler and Joe Espada this week for manager's job
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) October 14, 2019
Espada we just discussed, and the Cubs’ interest was long known. But Kapler, who was just fired by the Phillies, was not known until right now.
Kapler, 44, steered the Phillies to two underwhelming years despite a bevy of talent, though his front office office very much wanted to keep him for 2020, but an aggressive owner ultimately made the decision to fire him. Before those two years, he was a hotshot managerial candidate coming off a very successful run at the top of the Dodgers’ vaunted player development system.
It’s hard to know what to make of Kapler as a candidate. He’s also being interviewed, reportedly, by the Giants (his former boss with the Dodgers, Farhan Zaidi, is now the President there), and I think he’s likely still very well-regarded as a managerial candidate. But I also think it’s hard to ignore the lack of results with a talented Phillies team, and frequent dust-ups about his in-game strategic decisions.
Together with Joe Girardi, Kapler may be the Cubs’ only candidate with managerial experience. That certainly matters. But, unlike Girardi, Kapler doesn’t have a track record of success as a manager.
Then again, it’s just an interview. And it’s an interview with a recent manager from another NL club, and a guy who was intimately involved in the creation of the player development powerhouse that the Dodgers have become. Probably a good idea to have a conversation with him right now to at least see what he’s happy to discuss.
I’m not saying interviewing Kapler would be solely for the purposes of data mining. I’m just saying, he seems to be uniquely situated at this time to be useful for those potential ancillary purposes.