Following a disappointing postseason exit in 2015, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Don Mattingly mutually agreed to part ways. It didn’t come as much of a surprise, considering he was not hired by president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman or general manager Farhan Zaidi.
An exhaustive search and thorough interviewing process led to the Dodgers hiring then-San Diego Padres bench coach Dave Roberts as their new manager. Needless to say, the decision to go with Roberts has been everything and more.
In just two seasons, he’s led the Dodgers to consecutive National League West division titles and one NL pennant. His success in 2016 earned him NL Manager of the Year honors, and he’s a candidate for the same award this season, as well.
Prior to the hiring of Roberts, Dodgers director of player development Gabe Kapler was viewed as the consensus favorite for the position. While he ultimately lost out in the end, Kapler still holds a significant role for Los Angeles and is often lauded by his peers for his work around the Minors.
Per Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball, Friedman and Zaidi recommended Kapler to the New York Mets for their managerial opening, but the club declined to interview him:
To this day, Friedman and Zaidi believe Kapler would make an excellent manager and call teams to recommend him; the Mets received such a call, but decided not to interview him.
The Mets fired previous manager Terry Collins at the conclusion of the regular season and cast a wide net to fill their vacancy, which makes their reported refusal to at least interview Kapler somewhat surprising.
Multiple reports on Sunday indicated the Mets have reached an agreement to name Cleveland Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway as manager. The team has yet to make any formal announcement.
As for Kapler, in his third season with the Dodgers, he’s continuously praised around the organization for his leadership skills and emphasis on nutrition. The 42-year-old was originally slated to join Roberts’ coaching staff as the first base coach in 2016, but opted to stay in his current role instead.
It isn’t out of the question for other teams to express interest in Kapler later this offseason, but as of now, there are only four managerial openings around the league.