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The Thrilling Mystery of Gabe Kapler’s Firing

When Bob Melvin came in as the Giants’ new skipper, it induced a tremendously positive reaction from media and fans. He is expected to bring something to the clubhouse that will make a lasting impact. And the Giants were fortunate to get him given that he was under contract with the Padres. For whatever reason, the Padres decided not to hold him back, and the Giants brought him to the helm right when they needed a leadership change.

Firing Kapler was the right decision. Although he didn’t have the resources he should have had, he still had an obligation to squeeze out at least a few more wins and cannot be excused for not doing so. Indeed, quite a few of those second half slumps came when least expected, and Kapler couldn’t prevent them. Same thing with 2022. He hasn’t shown the ability to bring the Giants on top in fringe situations. Instead, they just get destroyed.

His creative, sub-traditional strategies worked in 2021 due to the fact that many of his role players were at the top of their game, and we could get into a discussion on that, but it’d be a different article. I might add that the legendary veteran players were also at the top of their game in 2021. But over the past two years, things just haven’t gone the Giants’ way.

It was time for a managerial change. That much we know. But it is still necessary to take a look into the shady circumstances surrounding Kapler’s firing. And to do that, we need to pay attention to the little details. No detail is too small.

First of all, allow me to introduce you to the unconventional timing of Kapler’s firing. Managers get fired all the time, but it happens at the end of the season. Or maybe, in a few extremely rare cases, it will happen mid-season when a team has a bad record but there’s still a chance to make the postseason, and they decide to make a desperate run for it.

Neither of these two circumstances was where Kapler found himself. After having been eliminated from playoff contention, the Giants dismissed him with three more games to go. Coach Kai Correa took over as interim manager for the final three games.

Now why would the Giants do that? Why would they fire Kapler before the season even ended and play down a coach for the final series? Their motive for the timing of the move hardly seems discernible. And there was absolutely nothing to salvage.

I believe that the Giants’ rush to fire Kapler tells us something. Think about it. Does it take much (or any) imagination at all to picture a very nervous Farhan Zaidi at the end of September? A Zaidi who feels that his job is in jeopardy? Two consecutive years where the Giants should have made the playoffs and didn’t. And that’s Zaidi’s fault more than Kapler’s, though both bear significant responsibility.

Let it be said right now that I’m not saying this is the case. I’m only saying I think it’s more than likely. But if you ask me, I think that Zaidi felt pressure to take some sort of action as immediately as possible so he’d look like he was doing stuff. Which is fine, as long as he actually does do stuff. As great of a manager as Bob Melvin is, we shouldn’t expect him to win if he doesn’t have a team.

Whatever happens, Zaidi is now under contract through 2026. Evidently, the owners didn’t even care to wait and see whether he could actually get anything done this offseason. I guess we’ll find out pretty soon.

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