Gape Kapler is 40 years old, and he still looks like he is 25 and could play baseball today. Or run track. Or play tight end. Few guys have ever looked the part of a big-time pro jock than Gabe Kapler. He is the statue of David, with clothes.
The former Texas Rangers outfielder has been out of MLB since 2010 when he retired, and has been mostly visible serving as a baseball analyst for Fox Sports 1. He lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife and their children, and has one year of coaching experience at the Class A level. Kapler is now listed as the Dodgers’ minor league director.
Kapler’s name is on the list of candidates to replace Don Mattingly as the manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Kapler has more experience than Mattingly did when he was hired in 2011, and if anybody “gets” the culture around baseball today, and the team’s presence in L.A. it would be Kapler.
Mattingly won three straight National League Division titles and it was not enough. The two sides recently agreed to hate the other when he stepped down as Dodgers’ manager. The Dodgers, who are owned by Fort Worth resident and Colonial tournament chairman Bobby Patton, have the largest payroll in MLB – $314 million.
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No job outside of the New York Yankees carries with it the financial weight, and star burden, like the Dodgers. Kapler would be no worse than Mattingly, who was a victim of his best players shrinking in the playoffs.
Kapler has been around. He played 12 seasons in the MLB for six different teams. He also briefly played in Japan. He was on the Red Sox team that won the 2004 World Series, which ended “The Curse of the Bambino.”
He was mostly a long shot coming out of Cal-State Fullerton when he was a 57th-round pick of the Detroit Tigers. He was smart enough to figure out how to last, and endure and to keep playing baseball at the highest level. Part of the reason he lasted was because he was a pro, and people liked him. When you are not a star player, you had better be a pro and a good guy.
Kapler is bright. Almost too bright. He could be a victim of over-thinking the most mundane detail when he was with the Rangers. At least when he was with the Rangers, he could be a victim of paralysis by analysis. He was only 26 then.
Now he is 40, and has seen the many sides of baseball. He clearly grasps the cruel and unavoidable grind that is a baseball life.
Other than extensive minor league or bench coaching experience, Kapler has the necessary qualities to be an effective big league manager. Patton and the Dodgers should give him the job.