Phillies CEO John Middleton overruled front office to fire manager Gabe Kapler

Sporting News

It seems those in the Phillies front office weren't the primary decision makers in firing manager Gabe Kapler earlier this week.

Phillies CEO John Middleton came out Friday and said he was the driving force in ousting the team's skipper after just two seasons despite resistance in the front office.

"A CEO's responsibility is to ensure an organization achieves its strategic objectives, and everything I do every day is working toward that end," Middleton said, (via ESPN).

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Kapler went 161-163 in two seasons at the helm in Philadelphia, missing the playoffs in both campaigns. He had one year remaining on his contract.

"The decision about a manager is much more directly connected to achieving the strategic objective of winning a World Series, just like signing Bryce Harper, (acquiring) J.T. Realmuto have a stronger impact on them," Middleton said. "So when you get to an impasse on those types of decisions, a CEO not only has the authority to step in, the CEO has the responsibility and obligation to step in."

This isn't the first time Middleton's exerted his influence over the team as he was leading the charge last offseason to encourage the Phillies to spend big money in free agency, which ultimately lead to the team signing Bryce Harper to a 13-year, $330 million deal. It was also Middleton's decision to fire hitting coach John Mallee in August and replace him with former Phillies manager Charlie Manuel.

"You have to know where your customers are and take their views into account," Middleton said. "When I walked around the stadium and walked around the streets of Philadelphia and people come up to me, there were almost, if not as many people, in favor of keeping Gabe as there were telling me to make the decision I ultimately made. It wasn't as clear-cut as some people think it was."

Middleton also cited the team's late-season collapses as another factor in making his decision as the team was 20-36 the last two Septembers under Kapler.

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Recently, former Phillies pitcher Curt Schilling has expressed interest in interviewing to be the team's new manager.

Philadelphia finished with an 81-81 record this season, 16 games behind the Braves in the National League East and eight games behind the Brewers for the second NL wild-card spot.

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