Gabe Kapler has not had much success in San Francisco so far, however, Gabe Kapler’s job security in 2021 should not be in question.
There seems to be a sentiment traveling around Giants fans that somehow the Giants manager Gabe Kapler should have done more with the roster he was handed to manage during a crisis laden – and pandemic shortened – 2020 season. Aside from the aforementioned COVID-19 outbreak, the Giants began the season with no Buster Posey, no closer, no starting depth, and Johnny Cueto as the ace while coming off of Tommy John Surgery. The complaints have been far and wide, but, let’s see if we can’t address those and make a case for Gabe Kapler’s Job Security.
Before I get into specifics, I would like to make one overall assessment that should be obvious to anyone claiming to have some form of a handle on this game: The team was not made up of good players. There have been countless debates about how much managers matter. Here are some raw numbers if you’d like to study more yourself.
Gabe Kapler’s Job Security: Bruce Bochy Was Not a God
Is Gabe Kapler following a legend? Yes, no doubt. However, long-time manager Bruce Bochy lives on this earth, there is no way he will ever pick up a wine or scotch tab in Northern California ever again. As it should be, of course, but, his message, era, and time have all come to a close.
If wins and losses are a person’s only scale of success, then Bochy wasn’t exactly crushing it in his final seasons either. Bochy guided the Giants to 272 losses from 2017-2019. There just isn’t much you can do when the bulk of your payroll while the club is in decline at the same time, especially the starting rotation, with Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, and Madison Bumgarner all being some form of gone for at least a couple of stretches, and in the case of Lincecum, gone entirely. Even Bruce Bochy’s highly praised bullpen skills couldn’t work past his beloved “Core Four” (Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, Jeremy Affeldt, Javier Lopez) succumbing to retirement or ineffectiveness. This brings me to my next point.
Gabe Kapler Did Not Mismanage the Bullpen
There is no way to mess up with an unproven bullpen that was already a mess. On opening day, the Giants had no closer, Tony Watson, Wandy Peralta, and nine other pitchers. Plus a questionable front-half, that was destined to make him use the bullpen often.
This should not affect Gabe Kapler’s job security going into 2021.
Gabe Kapler’s Job Security: 2019 Phillies Were Not the 1927 Yankees
Many point to a disappointing showing in Philadelphia in 2019. It was a Phillies team with high expectations, but, it’s treated as a massive meltdown and only because Bryce Harper was a pricy addition.
The bullpen was hampered early by injuries, and the aforementioned Harper underperformed. It was indeed underwhelming, short of expectations, and led to why he is now the Giants skipper, as Kapler was shown the door shortly after the disappointing performance. The fact remains the 2019 Phillies spent most of the season in contention.
Gabe Kapler’s Job Security: Giants Were One Win from Finishing at .500
I’ll leave the expanded playoffs out of this, as saying that Kapler almost turned the Giants into a playoff team would be a bit of a misnomer, if not technically incorrect. What can be said with certainty is for Gabe Kapler’s job security, 2020 was a juggling act, and not just in personnel changes
There were many anomalies due to no minor league baseball season. Joey Bart began 2020 nowhere near the Major League radar. He was destined for Richmond and perhaps some time in Sacramento. Bart had flashes of brilliance and Buster Posey is aging, but that still left a massive hole in the middle of the lineup. 60-games is by no means a sizeable sample size, but 29-31 was an accomplishment. It was achieved in large part because of Kapler, not in spite of him.
The Players Have Bought in
In a recent interview on KNBR, outfielder Mike Yastrzemski said, “He works so hard at his job and cares so much that you start to follow him,” and felt comfortable speaking for his teammates. Here is the full snippet from KNBR’s Twitter:
Gabe Kapler Is the Right Man for the Job
It’s hard to follow a legend, especially when your style is quite different than your esteemed predecessor. Giants fans, however, should rest easy because Gabe Kapler’s job security should not be in question right now. With Kapler, as well as President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi and General Manger Scott Harris, the Giants have people in place who want to win and win now. Rebuilds are no fun until they work.
This writer, however, tells you point-blank, as far as 2021 is concerned, the Giants Gabe Kapler’s job security is safe and he is the right man for the job.
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