Giants fire manager Gabe Kapler after 4 seasons (2024)

The Giants didn’t wait until the bitter end of a disappointing season to begin making major changes, announcing Friday that manager Gabe Kapler has been relieved of his duties, effective immediately.

Giants president Farhan Zaidi said in a news release that he recommended the managerial change to ownership and received their approval to fire Kapler, who had been the near-unanimous choice as National League Manager of the Year in 2021 when he led the Giants to a franchise-record 107-win season. Kapler still had another year remaining on the three-year extension he signed after that record-breaking season.

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But someone had to answer for the Giants’ second-half collapse, including an 8-16 record in September that knocked them out of a wild-card spot that seemed almost certain at the beginning of August. The collapse dwarfed either of the two disappointing September finishes that the Philadelphia Phillies had under Kapler in 2018-19, which ultimately cost him his job there. For the second time, he has been fired with a year remaining on his contract.

It’s the first time a Giants manager has been relieved of duties with anything left on his contract since 1985, when Roger Craig replaced Jim Davenport with 18 games remaining. The franchise’s dugout stability — from Craig to Dusty Baker to Felipe Alou to Bruce Bochy — has been an impressive distinction, as the Giants insulated themselves from much of the volatility that usually surrounds the managerial role.

But respected players including Logan Webb and Mike Yastrzemski continued to question the lack of clubhouse accountability, which Kapler might have been ill-equipped to fix given his hands-off managerial style. When the team held a series of meetings at the end of August, Kapler wasn’t among those who addressed the room.

As Webb said last Monday, “We’ve got to make some big changes in here to create that winning culture. We want to show up every single year and try to win the whole thing. … I’m just sick of losing, to be honest.”

When Kapler was fired in Philadelphia, owner John Middleton made the decision while going over the head of then-GM Matt Klentak. Kapler was unemployed for barely a month. Zaidi expended a great amount of personal capital to bring aboard Kapler, who was not viewed as a popular hire to replace Bochy after the 2019 season. The two had worked together with the Los Angeles Dodgers as GM and farm director.

But it’s clear that Kapler and Zaidi were not a package deal.

“After making this recommendation to ownership and receiving their approval, I met with Gabe today to inform him of our decision,” Zaidi said. “In his tenure as Giants manager, Gabe led our team through an unprecedented pandemic in 2020 and a franchise-record 107 wins and postseason berth in 2021. He has been dedicated and passionate in his efforts to improve the on-field performance of the San Francisco Giants and I have tremendous respect for him as a colleague and friend. On behalf of the Giants organization, we wish Gabe the best of luck in his future endeavors and thank him for his contributions over the last four years.”

The Giants did not immediately announce an interim manager. Third-base coach Mark Hallberg and bench coach Kai Correa would appear to be the leading candidates. As for a permanent successor, that will be tricky because it remains to be seen if ownership will extend Zaidi, whose contract expires at the end of 2024. It’s likely that Padres manager Bob Melvin will be a strong consideration if he is relieved of duties in San Diego.

Required reading

  • Should the Giants fire Gabe Kapler? A closer look at the 2023 season
  • Kawakami: Why Bob Melvin would be a perfect Giants managerial option (if he’s available this offseason)
  • Logan Webb makes more than a Cy Young case for Giants: ‘I’m tired of losing’
  • Giants turn to the future — but the messier their season ends, the less clear that future becomes

(Photo: Jeff Robinson / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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Giants fire manager Gabe Kapler after 4 seasons (1)Giants fire manager Gabe Kapler after 4 seasons (2)

Andrew Baggarly is a senior writer for The Athletic and covers the San Francisco Giants. He has covered Major League Baseball for more than two decades, including the Giants since 2004 for the Oakland Tribune, San Jose Mercury News and Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. He is the author of two books that document the most successful era in franchise history: “A Band of Misfits: Tales of the 2010 San Francisco Giants” and “Giant Splash: Bondsian Blasts, World Series Parades and Other Thrilling Moments By the Bay.” Follow Andrew on Twitter @extrabaggs

Giants fire manager Gabe Kapler after 4 seasons (2024)

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