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Phillies trade rumors - The Phillies have a new manager! His name is Gabe Kapler
by Scott Butler 10/31/17

Philadelphia Phillies Trade Rumors

MLB Trade Rumors is a site which describes themselves as "a clearinghouse for relevant, legitimate baseball rumors." Each week at Phils Baseball, we grab their latest Phillies rumors and put them all together in one weekly post.

Here are the latest Phillies rumors:

October 30

Phillies Hire Gabe Kapler As Manager

OCT. 30, 3:41pm: The Phillies have announced that Kapler will indeed take over the dugout.

7:30am: Kapler is indeed the Phillies’ choice to be their next manager, reports MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki. He impressed in a second interview this past Friday, and an announcement could come on Monday, according to Zolecki.

OCT. 29: The Phillies look to be close to naming Gabe Kapler as their next manager, as Jon Heyman and Robert Murray of FanRag Sports report that “barring something unforeseen,” Kapler is the team’s choice to replace Pete Mackanin.  An official announcement could come as early as Monday, or perhaps until after the World Series is over.

Kapler and Triple-A manager Dusty Wathan were known to be the finalists for the job.  Former Red Sox manager John Farrell also known to be in the running if Philadelphia opted for a skipper with MLB experience.  It now seems, however, that the Phillies will go in the opposite direction with Kapler, who will be joining a Major League staff for the first time in any capacity.  He has worked as the Dodgers director of player development for the last three years, and Kapler’s dugout resume consists of managing the Red Sox A-ball affiliate in 2007 and coaching on Team Israel’s staff during the qualifying rounds of the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

Despite this relative lack of experience, however, Kapler has long been cited as a potential manager of the future, even dating back to his playing career as an outfielder with the Red Sox, Rangers, Rays, Tigers, Rockies and Brewers from 1998-2010 (he took a year off for that Single-A managing stint).  Kapler was seen as a strong contender for the Dodgers’ last managerial vacancy, and it was even seen as something of an upset when the team instead hired Dave Roberts.

The Phillies were thought to be looking to hire a more analytically-minded manager, and Kapler would certainly fit that description.  Two years ago, ESPN.com’s Mark Saxon profiled Kapler’s full embrace of statistical analysis, physical and mental training methods in helping mold the Dodgers’ minor leaguers.  Kapler, 42, would be the latest in the game’s trend of younger managers not far removed from their playing days and without much formal managerial or even coaching experience.

Assuming the hire is official, Kapler will take over a young Phillies team still in the midst of a rebuild, but already with some intriguing building block pieces on the roster.  Phils GM Matt Klentak surprised many when he removed Mackanin from the manager’s job to a front office position last month, though since Mackanin was already in place when Klentak became GM in October 2015, Klentak has now firmly put his own stamp on the manager’s job.  Klentak and Kapler have a past relationship, as Klentak was working in the Rockies’ baseball operations department in 2003 when Kapler was playing for the team.

October 27

Padres To Hire Matt Stairs As Hitting Coach

The

Padres are hiring Matt Stairs as the team’s new hitting coach, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (via Twitter).  Earlier today, FanRag’s Robert Murray reported that Stairs was the “strong favorite” for the job.

Stairs made his pro coaching debut in 2017, working as the Phillies’ hitting coach and drawing praise for his role in helping the team’s many young hitters.  Still, with Philadelphia’s coaching staff in limbo after Pete Mackanin was removed from the manager’s job, there was already speculation that Stairs could depart for a more stable position elsewhere.  Stairs will now move into another rebuilding situation with another collection of young players in San Diego, plus the added challenge of generating offense in traditionally pitcher-friendly Petco Park.

Stairs spent the 18th of his 19 big league seasons with the Padres in 2010, hitting .232/.306/.475 with six homers over 111 plate appearances.  The Canadian slugger played for 12 different teams over his career, hitting 265 homers and posting a very solid .262/.356/.477 career slash line, while also setting a new MLB record with 23 career pinch-hit home runs.

October 27

Kapler, Wathan Among Finalists For Phillies Manager

The Phillies have an opening in the dugout after surprisingly removing Pete Mackanin from that role and transitioning him to a front office role. Philadelphia had extended Mackanin just four months earlier, making the decision all the more unexpected. We’ll track the majority of the managerial chatter pertaining to the Phils here over the course of the search and update accordingly as the hunt progresses…

Finalists

Will Interview/Have Interviewed (Still Under Consideration)

Preliminary Candidates (Interview Status Unknown)

Not in the Mix/No Longer in Consideration

October 23

Elected Free Agency: Siegrist, Edgin, Hutchison, Locke, Bolsinger, Van Slyke, Maness

The indispensable Matt Eddy of Baseball America provides an overview of a vast number of players electing free agency following the 2017 season in his latest Minor Transactions roundup. Eddy largely focuses on players with big league service time (significant service time, in some cases) that were outrighted off the roster that are now hitting the open market for the first time. (Players with three-plus years of service that are not on the 40-man roster at season’s end can elect free agency, as can any player that has been outrighted on multiple occasions in his career.)

While the vast majority of these players seem likely to sign minor league pacts this winter — they did, after all, go unclaimed by 29 other teams on waivers — a number of them are still intriguing with recent success in their past and/or multiple years of arbitration eligibility remaining. Eddy’s rundown also contains a number of re-signed minor leaguers and released minor leaguers without big league experience as well as Arizona Fall League assignments on a per-team basis, so it’s well worth a full look.

We’ve updated our list of 2017-18 MLB free agents accordingly, and here are some of the new names now checking in on the list…

Depth options in the rotation

Josh CollmenterAsher WojciechowskiDrew HutchisonJeff LockeKyle KendrickMike BolsingerChristian BergmanDavid Holmberg

Collmenter is just two seasons removed from being the D-backs Opening Day starter but hasn’t had much success of late. Hutchison had solid Triple-A numbers and once looked like a long-term rotation piece in Toronto before Tommy John surgery. He can be controlled for another three seasons in arbitration. Locke was injured for most of an ugly first (and likely only) season in Miami, and Kendrick made just two starts for the Red Sox.

Wojciechowski (6.50 ERA in 62 1/3 innings with the Reds), Bolsinger (6.31 ERA in 41 1/3 innings with the Jays), Bergman (5.00 ERA in 54 innings with the Mariners) and Holmberg (4.68 ERA in 57 2/3 innings with the White Sox) all soaked up innings for injury-plagued pitching staffs. Bolsinger has had the most MLB experience of the bunch.

Corner Bats

Scott Van SlykeTyler MooreCody AscheConor GillaspieJaff Decker

Van Slyke has long been a solid bat against left-handed pitching but appeared in just 29 games with the Dodgers and didn’t hit well with their Triple-A affiliate or with the Reds’ Triple-A affiliate. (He was included in the Tony Cingrani trade to balance out the financial side of the deal.) Moore, also a right-handed bat, showed power but struggled to get on base.

Once one of the Phillies’ top prospects, Asche hit well in Triple-A Charlotte but flopped in a brief stint with the ChiSox. Gillaspie was unable to replicate his 2016 rebound with the Giants, while Decker showed some on-base skills in the Majors and minors but didn’t hit much overall. (He can play center but hasn’t graded well there in the Majors.)

Utility Infielders

Ruben TejadaPhil GosselinDusty ColemanChase d’Arnaud

Each of the four can play all over the diamond, but none provided offensive value in 2017. Tejada has the most big league experience but hasn’t received much playing time since 2015 (and hasn’t performed well when he has gotten opportunities). Gosselin has a solid defensive reputation but a light bat through 551 MLB PAs. Coleman hit four homers in 71 PAs in his MLB debut this year but logged a .268 OBP. d’Arnaud saw his fair share of 2016 action with the Braves but has never produced much at the plate.

Bullpen options

Kevin Siegrist (L), Josh Edgin (L), Seth ManessKevin Quackenbush

Siegrist and Edgin are intriguing names for clubs in need of left-handed bullpen help. Both have recent success on their track records, though Edgin wasn’t as sharp in 2017 as he was prior to 2015 Tommy John surgery. Siegrist’s control eroded in 2017 as he missed time due to a back/spinal injury and tendinitis in his left forearm, but he was one of the Cardinals’ top setup options in both 2015 and 2016. Both lefties are controllable through 2019.

Maness drew headlines for returning from a torn UCL in roughly seven months thanks to an experimental new “primary repair” procedure, but while he stayed healthy in 2017, the results weren’t great in the Majors and especially not in Triple-A (6.13 ERA in 47 innings). Quackenbush was excellent as a rookie in 2014 and solid in 2015-16 before imploding in 2017 (7.86 ERA in 26 1/3 innings). He was better but not great in Triple-A (3.90 ERA, 7.8 K/9, 2.9 BB/9). Maness could be controlled through 2019, while Quackenbush would have three more years of control.

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