Kapler reflects on end of Giants tenure (2024)

April 17th, 2024

Kapler reflects on end of Giants tenure (1)

Maria Guardado

@mi_guardado

This story was excerpted from Maria Guardado’s Giants Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

MIAMI -- Gabe Kapler’s new role as an assistant general manager for the Marlins requires that he keep tabs on all 30 teams across the league, but he can’t help but pay “a little special attention” to the Giants.

Kapler’s continued investment in the club he managed for four seasons before his dismissal last September was apparent prior to Monday’s series opener at loanDepot park, when he came out to the field for batting practice and spent over an hour catching up with his former players, coaches and support staff behind the cage.

“I miss a lot of these guys,” Kapler said. “I’m always interested to see how everybody is doing, and obviously, rooting from afar.”

Kapler, 48, didn’t expect to jump back into the executive ranks after being let go by the Giants with a year left on his contract. He initially planned to take some time off and travel in his custom camper van, which he planned to live out of during an extended tour of South America.

“I was really excited about it,” Kapler said. “I was telling people all about it. Like, ‘Don’t bother me, I’m going to be in South America somewhere on some mountain.’ And so the fact that we’re standing here talking here today is a little bit surprising to me.”

Kapler instead found himself detouring to Miami, where he was brought in to work under new Marlins president of baseball operations Peter Bendix in December. The opportunity gave Kapler a chance to dive back into the world of player development and help build out other departments as part of Miami’s front office overhaul.

“Peter and I had a chat, and I found his vision to be compelling for what this organization can be,” Kapler said. “It’s an organization that has a chance to do really special things. It’s not going to happen overnight. There have been other groups that have come in and tried to reach the potential with this organization, but I think the city and the Marlins have a chance to have a really incredible relationship. The best way to do that is for the Marlins to win year in and year out.”

Kapler couldn’t do that consistently enough to keep his job in San Francisco. He was named the 2021 National League Manager of the Year after steering the Giants to a franchise-record 107 wins, but the club couldn’t maintain those heights and ended up missing the playoffs the next two years. Kapler took the fall following the Giants’ second-half collapse in 2023, when they crashed out of the NL Wild Card race after going 9-18 in September.

Kapler reflects on end of Giants tenure (2)

Kapler was relieved of his duties with three games left on the schedule, with players such as Mike Yastrzemski saying afterward that the Giants' clubhouse had developed “a kind of ‘fend for yourself’ type of atmosphere” and lacked “a sense of unity” down the stretch.

“I’ve reflected a lot on that,” Kapler said. “The only thing that I’ll say is I understand it all. This is a sport where winning is really important, and we didn’t win enough games. Unfortunately, that’s part of managing a professional sports franchise. That’s the No. 1 responsibility: Helping your team win games. We didn’t win enough of them.”

Is Kapler interested in managing again in the future?

“Right now, I'm just staying really focused in the present moment,” Kapler said. “That’s not my way of not answering that. It’s more, I can be right here, right now and just be focused on the job that I’m doing.”

Before landing with the Marlins, Kapler also interviewed for the Red Sox’s general manager opening that eventually went to Craig Breslow. Regardless of whether he ends up staying in the front office ranks or returning to the dugout, Kapler said he’s ready to embrace new challenges and is excited for the next chapter of his career in Miami.

“I love baseball,” Kapler said. “I love being a part of it every single day. I feel like I can impact the game from a lot of different angles. It doesn’t have to be one thing or another. Because it’s one thing for the next three years or so doesn’t mean that it can’t be another thing the following three years. I’ve always wanted to kind of work in this game and see the game from every angle. I feel like right now is a unique opportunity to do that.”

Kapler reflects on end of Giants tenure (2024)

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