Dodgers Managerial Candidate Profile: Gabe Kapler, From The Front Office To Dugout?
Jon SooHoo-Los Angeles Dodgers

Of all of the Los Angeles Dodgers front office’s moves over the past year, naming their new manager may rank as the most innovative.

Plenty of prominent names are on the market, but the Dodgers could look within its own hierarchy to fill the void created by Don Mattingly’s departure. And it could come in the form of one of the most forward-thinking of their staff: director of player development Gabe Kapler.

The 12 year Major League veteran joined the Dodgers organization roughly one year ago. Prior to that, he was a baseball commentator at Fox Sports. However, his wide breadth of experiences seemingly has placed him atop Los Angeles’ prospective managerial list.

During his career, Kapler played for six teams, including seven different managers. Notably, he spent his final two seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays, playing for Joe Maddon. Kapler played two seasons for Terry Francona in Boston, where he was part of the championship club in 2004.

Kapler’s managerial experience is limited to a single season in Low-A ball with the Greenville Drive in 2007, a Red Sox affiliate. He was also a coach for Team Israel during the World Baseball Classic qualifying tournament in 2012.

When asked if previous experience was a requirement for potential managers, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman denied it was necessary.

Kapler’s willingness to test new philosophies and openness to collaboration make him an ideal candidate. He, along with the rest of the front office, instituted a healthy-eating regimen in the Minors and banned multiple food items from the Dodgers’ clubhouse, albeit with a few objections.

Kapler also was vocal about the organization’s new approach to team-building, communication and flexibility in the farm system. He said his job was to develop human beings first and baseball players second.

When asked what they were looking for in a managerial candidate, Friedman and Zaidi singled out leadership and open-mindedness. Kapler has these traits in spades, with Friedman referring to Kapler as a “great leader of people” when he was hired last year.

Moreover, Kapler’s flexibility and willingness to share ideas, even opposing ideas, has been demonstrated on numerous occasions within the organization.

While taking a former player-turned-executive and making him the manager seemed unlikely prior to the team’s first press conference after Mattingly left, the feeling after the event was Kapler appears to the ideal candidate.

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