Ex-SF Giants manager Gabe Kapler discusses life in Miami, future plans (2024)

MIAMI — With a few minutes left in the Marlins’ pregame batting practice Monday, a muscular figure strode behind the batting cage. Wearing a black Miami ballcap, a teal shirt with the two top buttons undone and white linen pants, that is where Gabe Kapler remained for the next hour as his former team took a turn in the cage.

His successor, Bob Melvin, was one of the first Giants to approach him, and most of the rest of the players and staff he worked with took time out of their pregame work to dap up and catch up with their manager of the past four years.

“I loved it,” Kapler said a day later, leaning against the railing of the third-base dugout before first pitch Tuesday.

In a 10-minute conversation, that was all the former manager had to say about reuniting with the club he managed for four years, the second-half collapse that led to his ouster with three games remaining or his reaction to the decision. Kapler, 48, preferred to focus on the present and his new role as an assistant general manager in Miami, returning to a front office role for the first time since he was the Dodgers’ director of player development.

Bay Area News Group: Tell us about life in Miami. You embraced the culture of San Francisco, lived in North Beach and biked to the ballpark. What does that lifestyle look like here?

Gabe Kapler: I live in Edgewater. You know where (the Miami neighborhood) Wynwood is, where all the street art is? It’s very close. Wynwood is a little inland, and Edgewater, as you might imagine, is right there on the water. I’m happy. I think it’s cool to be in such an international city. San Francisco is a very international city, as well. I would say Miami even more so. You know how I feel about, like, good food and culture. We’ve got a lot of those things here.

BANG: And your new position, assistant GM under new president of baseball operations Peter Bendix, what does that entail?

GK: I’ve done a lot of everything. Rachel Balkovec is our farm director, director of player development. She’s awesome. Really good at her job. I’ve spent a lot of time with her and helping her navigate a new space. A lot of hiring throughout different departments. We’re light in some areas. We have a smaller headcount in baseball operations. I spent a lot of time in Jupiter (the Marlins’ spring training home), just getting to know our major-league roster and our major-league staff and spending time with Rachel. Now, I’ve just been trying to get as much exposure to departments that I’m not quite as familiar with.

BANG: ‘Light’ is not the word I would use to describe the baseball ops department in San Francisco. What are the differences between the organizations?

GK: A baseball operations department with a big staff is bigger than the smallest ones by like in the hundreds of people. That’s a pretty large discrepancy. We’re on the lighter side. We’re going to build that up.

BANG: How did this job come about? You had built out a Mercedes sprinter van that you planned to use to travel the continent after you were fired.

GK: I was all set to spend the year traveling. I was pretty excited about that. I had maps put together. Digital maps, meaning like I had things mapped out. The plan was Chile. Those were my early-stage plans. Peter was an intern with the Rays when I was a player, but we didn’t know each other well by any stretch. We were introduced through mutual people. We talked on the phone a couple of times and he asked if I’d want to come to Miami and talk more. I said, sure. I didn’t really have any expectation that it would turn out to be anything more than a good conversation that might lead to something. But whatever. I was invested to the extent that I wanted to learn what was on his mind and wanted to share what was on mine.

I just think it was a really good fit. I think he’s a really good leader and a very warm, smart leader with a really interesting background from Tampa. It’s a really cool and, in a lot of ways, unique market. It’s a very unique market. We have, like, a couple of writers. For me, spending a good chunk of time in LA, and then a good chunk of time in Philly, and then a good chunk of time in San Francisco, to come to this, it’s just a little bit different. More laid back.

BANG: Why not take a year off? You have lots of interests outside of baseball, and presumably plenty of financial flexibility.

GK: Good question. Part of me is not sure why. Baseball competition is very addictive. It’s fun. It’s a fun world. It’s fun to think about how to win. That’s at least one part of the draw. Part of the draw was Peter and his vision. Part of it is just my own desire and excitement about wanting to win long-term.

BANG: Would you like to manage again one day?

GK: I’m open to it. I’m not in a rush. I think there’s room to continue to see baseball from every angle. I just think no matter what that makes me a more well-rounded, more experienced baseball executive or baseball manager at some point. I don’t — yeah, let’s put it like this: I’m in a very relaxed space as it relates to what comes two, three years from now. It’s fine for me to just be here and invested right where I am.

Ex-SF Giants manager Gabe Kapler discusses life in Miami, future plans (2024)

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