FanGraphs Audio: Gabe Kapler Talks Managing

Episode 896

The big awards have been given out, but the FanGraphs crew is keeping an eye on offseason roster moves. This week, we welcome a major league manager to the program before digging into a pile of of recently named-later players.

  • To start the show, David Laurila is joined by Gabe Kapler, former player and current manager of the San Francisco Giants. They discuss Kapler’s history with the game, working with his childhood favorite player, and sympathizing with Kevin Cash when it comes to having to make difficult in-game decisions. They also go over the highs and lows of the Giants’ 2020 campaign after they narrowly missed a playoff spot. [2:00]
  • After that, Ben Clemens and Eric Longenhagen spend some time on the Cy Young award winners before digging into the PTBNL stack. A number of transactions were recently completed, and there were some intriguing names on the move. What is Jorge Mateo’s role? How can orgs evaluate the progress of their prospects in 2020? And what is the strategy with players like Jason Vosler? [17:48]

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Audio after the jump. (Approximate 56 minutes play time.)





Dylan works on FanGraphs Audio, Effectively Wild, the FanGraphs Live Twitch channel, and the Community Research blog. He also enjoys the Waxahachie Swap, the Air Bud principle, and the Oxford comma. You can Tweet him about any of those things @dhhiggins.

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NotBurtReynolds
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NotBurtReynolds

I’m very disappointed that Fangraphs would give a platform to someone who helped cover up multiple sexual assaults, never gave a real apology or explanation, and never faced any sort of punishment. This seriously bums me out.

r24j
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r24j

Me too. Especially given that FanGraphs is usually always so on the money when it concerns addressing important social matters. Kapler isn’t really some unorthodox manager anymore (in terms of philosophy) – most managers need to skew towards analytics. There’s plenty of other qualified people without the baggage who could offer similar insights.

sjwalsh
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sjwalsh

Except he has apologized and made amends. I’m not really sure what else you guys want from him. The guy has outwardly and fervently supported social causes such as the black lives matter movement, going as far as to donate his entire salary to the players’ alliance (a collective of 100 black professional baseball players). More recently he’s aided Mauricio Dubon in raising awareness on the recent hurricanes that have ravaged Honduras. He’s also supported mental health awareness in the baseball. The list goes on. He pushes social justice more than any other manager in the MLB and he’s shown that he cares deeply about his players and the people around him.

r24j
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r24j

You realize the entire M.O. for the Dodgers for many years was saying one thing and doing another, right? Their front office literally had spreadsheets documenting their behind-the-scenes offenses that were color-coded based on severity.

Gabe Kapler, for all he says publicly (and may very well believe in regards to social justice), is not necessarily that well-liked in baseball for a reason. So please, spare me the handful of stories about how he has presented himself to the public. He’s done good things, but you can’t overlook the real bad stuff, too.

I’m not saying he’s a terrible human being and doesn’t deserve to make a living. But, you can’t ask informed fans/followers/etc. just to overlook all that because he showed solidarity during a national anthem. That’s great and all, but there’s more to it.

If you can overlook what Kapler has done, that’s your prerogative. Clearly the Giants and Phillies did. My point was that Kapler is no longer some unicorn in regards to how he operates. Analytically-inclined managers are the norm and I personally feel you can get the same kind of input from someone who carries less baggage. I’m not telling anyone what to do or how to feel, but I’m just commenting how I feel.

sjwalsh
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sjwalsh

1. That is a Dodgers problem rather than a Kapler problem, yet everybody celebrates what their front office has accomplished.

2. Yes I believe his recent actions hold far more weight on his quality of character than his mishandling of sexual assault claims against those minor league players 5 years ago. Yes, he should’ve gone to the police rather than trying to resolve the situation in-house, but he has apologized for that.

3. Your sentence, “just to overlook all that because he showed solidarity during a national anthem” is a gross underestimation of the social advocacy he’s undertaken.

r24j
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r24j

1. Kapler was a key figure in the operation at the time and was very complicit of many things. His involvement is not to be overlooked.

2. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t let players under my watch sexually assault people and I couldn’t be bothered to call the police because PR” is a bit too little, too late as far as I’m concerned. Please tell the victims he’s sorry.

3. No, I didn’t understate it. Sorry, I’m not going to celebrate every single instance where a white person holds themselves accountable and does the right thing. Yes, I’m glad he’s advocated for things. But, I’m not talking about that. Lots of people do a lot incredible work in their communities and go unnoticed every single day because we as a society for some reason give idiots a platform. It’s good he does those things, but that’s not the point.

I have my opinion, you have yours. Listen to and enjoy the podcast. I decided to speak up because someone else did as well, and because I respect the staff at FanGraphs and the stance they take – so I personally found this disappointing.

Ben Kaspick
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Member

There was no cover up.

MLB investigated these incidents, and a league official involved in the investigation said that they “spent a massive amount of time on this, and it was done at the level of detail and specificity that we would use for a domestic-violence investigation.”

Their conclusion: “[Kapler] comes across as an intelligent and caring individual, and we saw everything. We didn’t view that he was insensitive to victims of sexual assault or violence or that he was trying to cover up conduct of players, that was not our conclusion at all…he was cleared. Kapler didn’t violate any policies.”

Source: https://www.sfchronicle.com/giants/article/MLB-probe-backs-Gabe-Kapler-s-statements-about-14838906.php.

r24j
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r24j

MLB investigated the Houston Astros too and ~sure~ laid down the hammer. Not sure they’re necessarily a good judge of character.

Ben Kaspick
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Not a fair comparison. MLB unequivocally cleared Kapler. That’s not remotely what happened with the Astros.

A more fair comparison might be Aroldis Chapman or Addison Russell. Both were investigated, found to have done wrong, and punished.

r24j
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Member
r24j

Russell got 30 games and Chapman got 40 games. You think that’s nearly enough or set any sort of precedent about domestic abuse? They didn’t lay down the hammer whatsoever, that’s a slap on the wrist. Both of them, and all athletes who harm their spouse/partner/anybody, should not be allowed to have the platform a professional athlete does. MLB has never once impressed me when they were tasked with truly taking a stance on something of significance.

In terms of Kapler, it is different. All I said is that his recent work does not mean you can overlook very serious allegations he was a part of. Yes, he’s been a voice in the league for social justice. Everyone should. It’s dumb it’s so foreign to people in this country that it’s still not the norm. But, if I go and partake in activist movement and also turn a blind eye to friends/colleagues/etc doing awful things instead of calling the police, I am responsible for all of it. Not just what is most recent.

I didn’t advocate some lifetime ban because he’s on a podcast. I am personally disappointed with the website’s decision to give him a platform, especially since he’s not even that novel anymore when you look at the managerial landscape.

MosesZD
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MosesZD

MosesZD
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MosesZD

He didn’t. Keith Law did a very solid job of investigating. Kapler reported AND WAS COMMENDED FOR IT, it was the Dodgers Legal Office that engaged in a cover-up and they were ones who got in trouble.

The problem is that fools rushed in, wrote stupid stories without the facts, then more fools decided these shoddily ‘researched’ (as in not at all) stories were true.