The Phillies this offseason made some of the biggest moves in all of baseball, with the acquisition of J.T. Realmuto and Bryce Harper. This comes off of a rough season ending last season, where the Phillies were so close to the playoff they could taste it and it all fell apart with a full month left. Many people placed the blame on the first-time manager Gabe Kapler and his lack of leadership and vision at the end of the season. Others, however, love Kapler. There is a drastic difference in the fanbase, you’re either a Kapler lover or hater and there is no in-between.
Last spring training many reports came out of atypical routines during training, and during the season, many pitching changes were mishandled and other moves that prompted critique. To some, Kapler hasn’t been the chosen one he is to others.
This year, the Phillies (and Kapler) are looking to stay strong through the final moments of the season. Management and Matt Klentak have potentially put together a roster that can avoid the mismanagements of season’s past. The roster in its current form is shaping up to be something where constant changes are not needed, something last season Kapler did frequently.
Kapler needs to find the right formula in the pitching staff, however. Everyone knows that without pitching, dreams of October baseball are just dreams after all. The roster is strong with arms like Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta, but something Kapler showed his inability in last season, timely pitching changes are the key to the process. The Phillies have depth in their relievers, and it’s once again up to Kapler to utilize them to the fullest potential.
Gabe Kapler is a man of numbers. He relies more on a number that was crunched than a feeling in a game. Many people think this is his biggest weakness as well as his greatest strength, as his methods of trusting the numbers cost a few games last season. The biggest improvement Kapler can make is to learn to break away from the data and see a situation with better vision. Kapler looks to be having the tools to produce wins in front of him, he just needs to know how to use them.