Gabe Kapler out as Phillies manager after two seasons
The Philadelphia Phillies have fired manager Gabe Kapler after a second successive mediocre season.
The Phillies had high expectations for 2019 after loading up in the offseason, but their roster moves only led to a one-game improvement from the previous campaign.
Consequently, the team, who concluded an 81-81 season 11 days ago, announced on Thursday that Kapler would not return for the final year of his contract.
"Several years ago, I promised our loyal fans that I would do everything in my power to bring a world championships team to our city," owner John Middleton said in a statement.
"During the second half of this season and continuing into this week, I have evaluated our organisation extensively, a process that included talking to many people both internally and around the league.
"Reassuring to me was the endorsement that people outside the Phillies gave to the progress we have made recently, both organisationally and on the field.
"Nevertheless, with the knowledge that I have gained from my evaluation, combined with my personal reflection on the 2019 season, I have decided that some changes are necessary to achieve our ultimate objective.
"Consequently, we will replace our manager. I am indebted to Gabe for the steadfast effort, energy and enthusiasm that he brought to our club, and we are unquestionably a better team and organisation as a result of his contributions."
For your passion and dedication to the Phillies and the city of Philadelphia. pic.twitter.com/e5t6XomuxF— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) October 10, 2019
That Philadelphia posted the one-game improvement from Kapler's first year at the helm was a significant disappointment after bringing in Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Andrew McCutchen, Jean Segura and David Robertson.
Those additions bumped the opening day payroll up $45million from 2018, but the Phillies missed the playoffs for the eighth consecutive year.
That was enough for Middleton to make the move, and now he will look for a manager who can vault the Phillies back into regular postseason contention.
"We came into 2019 with very high hopes. We fell short of those, and that responsibility lies with me," Kapler said in a release.
"The next Phillies manager will inherit a team of talented, dedicated and committed players. There has been nothing more fulfilling in my professional career than the opportunity to work with the players on this team. I will forever value the relationships I developed with them.
"As I move on, I know that this organisation is in a great spot and will see a lot of success going forward. My hope is that I helped contribute to a developing culture in the organisation that flourishes in the years to come.
"I've come to care for this franchise and have the best wishes for this group in the future. The passion and devotion of the Phillies fan base both inspired and humbled me daily.
"It was an honour to grow, develop and learn with this team. I'm looking forward to what the future brings, and I know I'm a better leader and person for having had this opportunity."