The majority of baseball fans had the same reaction to the San Francisco Giants hiring Gabe Kapler as their new manager: “huh?” But from the Giants’ perspective the hiring shows that the organization is rapidly evolving under president Farhan Zaidi.
Kapler is taking over for Bruce Bochy, who is, at least for the moment, calling it a career. This is as rough of a managerial transition as humanly possible.
Bochy was an old-school baseball mind. Sure, he toyed with a bullpen day every here and there in 2019, but Bochy managed on instinct and tendencies rather than purely numbers. He also had a roster that embodied such an approach.
The Giants core is Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, Joe Panik, and Evan Longoria. When you think of those players, is your brain filled with images of modern-day, launch angle hitters or veterans who have played the game the same way throughout their entire careers?
The bulk of those players won a World Seres with the Giants this decade, and Bochy was present for all three championships; there was no reason to change the approach. Then in 2018 the Giants hired Zaidi, which was an indicator that the approach was changing. And now one…