Phillies dismiss Gabe Kapler as manager

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 27: Manager Gabe Kapler #19 of the Philadelphia Phillies looks on against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park on September 27, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies defeated the Marlins 5-4 in fifteenth inn

The Philadelphia Philllies have fired manager Gabe Kapler, the team announced Thursday.

The decision comes after the second-year manager lead the Phillies to an 81-81 season and finished fourth in the National League East.

The Phillies were only two games behind in the NL wild-card standings after beating Atlanta on Sept. 18 but lost eight of the next nine, including a five-game sweep at Washington. They finished eight games behind Milwaukee for the second wild card and 16 behind the first-place Braves in the NL East.

"I have tremendous respect for this organization, this franchise and this city," Kapler said in a statement. "We came into 2019 with very high hopes. We fell short of those, and that responsibility lies with me."

Kapler, who came to Philadelphia was little managerial experience, finished his Phillies tenure with a 161-163 record. His reliance on analytics and indirect comments to the media often thrust criticism upon the 44-year-old.

During Kapler's two years in Philadelphia, the team combined to post the 27th worst average in the league at .240 and the 23rd worst OPS in baseball at .727. Phillies pitchers over the last 24 months hold a 4.34 ERA and have surrendered the 10th most home runs in MLB.

"While we have fallen short in the win column for the last two years, I can confidently say that Kap's efforts have established a strong and sustainable foundation for this organization moving forward," Phillies General Manager Matt Klentak said.

The team announced that Kapler and pitching coach Chris Young will be the only ones dismissed. All other coaches have been invited to remain on staff. Additionally, Charlie Manuel will return to his role as a senior advisor.

Philadelphia will now search for a new manager and plenty of big names are hypothetically in play.

Joe Maddon was dismissed by the Chicago Cubs upon the conclusion of the 2019 season. Joe Girardi, who has been a television analyst since the Yankees dismissed him in 2017, also figures to draw some interest from the Phillies front office. Veteran manager Buck Showalter also recently expressed interest in returning to the dugout.

Associated Press contribbuted to this report