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:
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.
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.
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…
If the Phillies opt for a manager with Major League experience, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney tweets that the “industry expectation” is that John Farrell will get the job.
MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that Dodgers director of player development Gabe Kapler is also a finalist for the position, along with Wathan. Both impressed the Phils with their first interviews, and it sounds as if the Philadelphia brass will conduct one more round of interviews with this pair (and any other yet-unknown finalists) before making a final decision.
The Phillies are “zeroing in” on Triple-A skipper Dusty Wathan for the job, per Nightengale (via Twitter). He’ll join Kapler, at the least, in a second wave of interviews. Wathan only briefly cracked the majors as a player, but has once again climbed the minor-league ladder since moving to the coaching ranks with the Phillies back in 2008.
Will Interview/Have Interviewed (Still Under Consideration)
Recently fired Red Sox manager John Farrell interviewed for the position on Oct. 25, reports Zolecki. It’s not yet clear whether Farrell’s sitdown with the Phils will result in another interview.
Dodgers director of player development Gabe Kapler is also slated for an interview, as Zolecki reports. Kapler took his position with Los Angeles after missing on the team’s managerial opening, but has continued to be cited as a possible candidate elsewhere ever since.
The Phillies already have one strong internal candidate in Jorge Velandia, reports Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. Currently a special assistant to GM Matt Klentak, Velandia interviewed for the opening on Wednesday and is a “strong candidate,” according to Salisbury, though other interviews are sure to be conducted with external candidates. Nonetheless, Salisbury writes that the 42-year-old Velandia is well versed in player development and has embraced the analytical side of the game. His work with Klentak and the rest of the front office should bode well for communication. He’s spent time on the Phillies’ big league coaching staff in the past and has also spent six seasons as a manager in the Venezuelan Winter League.
Current Phillies third base coach Juan Samuel has also interviewed for the opening, as Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Daily News recently reported. Samuel, 56, has been on the Phillies’ coaching staff since 2011 after coming over from the Orioles, where he worked with Andy MacPhail, who was then the Orioles’ president and now holds that same role with the Phillies. Samuel spoke to Brookover about his own openness to incorporating more data-driven decisions into on-field decisions. “If you have something available to you that gives you an advantage over other clubs, you should definitely use it,” he said.
Both Salisbury and Brookover list Triple-A manager Dusty Wathan as another internal candidate that is expected to interview. It’s not known yet whether the 44-year-old has interviewed, but he’s spent the past 10 seasons managing at various levels throughout the Phillies’ system, so he obviously has plenty of familiarity with the Phillies’ homegrown players and a number of the front office execs that have been with the club for an extended period of time.
Preliminary Candidates (Interview Status Unknown)
The Phillies have spoken with Mariners third base coach Manny Acta, Jon Heyman of FanRag writes (and clarifies on Twitter). Acta, who managed the Nationals from 2007-09 and the Indians from 2010-12, was in the running for the Mets’ job before it went to Mickey Callaway.
In addition to a few of the other names already covered here, Heyman hears that the Phils have some level of interested in Red Sox bench coach Gary DiSarcina and possibly former Tigers manager Brad Ausmus. Boston is in the midst of its own managerial hiring process, with the club leaving coaches like DiSarcina free to explore their options with other organizations.
The Phillies are interested in speaking to Rockies bench coach Mike Redmond, per Heyman. There’s been no definitive word of an interview, but the former Marlins manager has been building his dugout resume since calling it quits as a player back in 2010. At 46, he’d give the Phillies a considerably younger voice than they’ve had under recent skippers like Mackanin, Ryne Sandberg and Charlie Manuel.
Not in the Mix/No Longer in Consideration
Ryan Lawrence of PhillyVoice.com reported recently that the Phillies won’t consider bench coach Larry Bowa or former GM Ruben Amaro Jr. for the post. Klentak has stated a desire for a “new voice” and a “new style” in the dugout, Lawrence notes, which wouldn’t be accomplished with the 71-year-old Bowa. As for Amaro, while he’d been previously connected to the role and is reportedly on the Tigers’ radar, Lawrence definitively characterized the chances of Amaro being on the team’s radar as nonexistent.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets that Phil Nevin is no longer in the running after interviewing recently. FanRag’s Jon Heyman tweets that Athletics third base coach Chip Hale, who also interviewed for the Philadelphia vacancy, has been eliminated from the running as well.
Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway interviewed for the post but has since been hired as the new manager of the Mets.
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
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.
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.)
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.
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.comments powered by Disqus