What a difference a few horrible games make. Just two weeks after ownership pledged their 2024 for him, the San Francisco Giants have fired manager Gabe Kapler, a few hours before starting their final series of the season. The news was first reported by Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, and shortly thereafter confirmed by the team.
In a statement, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi praised Kaplers “dedicated and passionate” efforts to improve the team, before stating, “I have tremendous respect for him as a colleague and a friend.”
Statement from Giants: pic.twitter.com/l7uNJ8rP7x— Maria I. Guardado (@mi_guardado) September 29, 2023
Zaidi’s statement begins by noting that he made the recommendation to ownership which I call shenanigans on, but that’s neither here nor there.
Firing Kapler was unthinkable two years ago, when the Giants shocked the world by winning a franchise-record 107 games in 2021, a year after having a losing record. And it was unthinkable a few months ago, when the Giants were 13 games above .500 and firmly in postseason position.
But an awful end to the season quickly changed the narrative. Since capping off a seven-game win streak on July 18, the Giants have gone 24-40, falling from a playoff team, to a playoff contender, to far out of the race and likely finishing fourth in the division. Along the way they’ve had their most futile stretch of road performance in franchise history.
Perhaps most importantly, however, are the reports and rumors of discontent and poor leadership in the clubhouse. And while firing Kapler with all of three games left reads like a slap in the face, it appears that it’s due to wanting to spare him from having to defend that criticism while being quietly on the way out.
Sounds as if the growing chorus of criticism and “noise” as one insider put it got to be too much of a distraction and there was no reason to wait and let Kapler continue to have to answer questions every day as he’d had to this week.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) September 29, 2023
Finishing with a record of 295-248, Kapler ends his Giants tenure with the third-highest winning percentage in San Francisco franchise history, trailing only Al Dark and Herman Franks.
Was this the Giants needing a scapegoat after a bad season, or serious issues with Kapler’s managerial style? Time will tell, I suppose.
Best of luck and thanks for the 107 wins, Kap.