By Sam Bush

Phillies manager Gabe Kapler isn’t waiting to develop a bond with his young players. reports that Kapler had dinner with Rhys Hoskins last Friday night in Philly and then attended the organization’s Christmas tree lighting outside the ballpark on Saturday evening.

Kapler has also dined with Rhys Hoskins.

“Both of those guys blew me away,” Kapler told about his dinners with Crawford and Hoskins. “Those were, ‘Wow!’ Both of them. Incredible leadership characteristics. What’s easy to see is that people will follow them. People will want to be like those guys. And what’s easy to see is that they are going to make really healthy choices. They’re going to make the right choices along the way. That’s evident and clear.

“I walked away from that dinner saying, ‘This guy can lead now,'” Kapler said. “He doesn’t need any more success. It’s not about being the veteran guy. That’s not what it’s about. He is a leader by example, by the way he carries himself, by the way he thinks and by the way he talks. And it doesn’t have to be vocal ‘rah-rah’ in front of the group. It’s a very unique package, one that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen.”

Can Kapler keep everybody happy?

“It’s not just a challenge, it’s a blessing,” Kapler said. “It’s a gift to the Phillies, it’s a gift to the players, it’s a gift to the manager. … Giving them the best possible matchups. And the awesome part of this is, guys, at the end of the day you’re going to look up and your numbers are going to be better because we move puzzle pieces around to keep you the healthiest, strongest version of yourself and to match you up against guys you’re most likely to have success against.”

“I think we’ll be able to talk to him and not have to worry about saying something wrong or worry about messing up,” Crawford said. “I feel like he’s going to understand. He’s been through it. A real cool guy, I like him. I think he’s to be a great manager here with all the young guys. We’re going to work well together.”