Asks Matt Gelb on TheAthletic.com:
If Gabe Kapler is fired, any manager taking the job would know the expectations are to win in 2020 and, if it doesn’t work, that manager could have a new boss and face an uncertain status for 2021. It is a tenuous position.
The same could be said if Kapler returns for 2020. John Middleton has adopted a thorough approach to evaluating the manager, but the delay indicates some degree of apprehension about Kapler’s capabilities moving forward.
The challenge for Middleton is evaluating Kapler without comparing him to any of the available managers. Some inside the organization believe a better justification is needed for firing Kapler than the fact that someone with more experience and a better resume exists. It’s not guaranteed the Phillies would target only experienced managers. They could search for the next Craig Counsell or Alex Cora or Aaron Boone — all of whom came from the same mold as Kapler — but have found success despite inexperience.
There is enough support within the organization for Kapler. But it’s been two weeks since the Phillies were officially eliminated and Middleton has heard from enough detractors to continue his pursuit for the most objective evaluation possible. It all makes for an unusual situation.