In many ways, Kapler's two seasons in Philadelphia remind me of Francona's last two years in Philadelphia. The first of the two seasons was marked by a run at contention into early August followed by a meltdown which resulted in yet another losing season. The second was one that started with great expectations and ended with great disappointment (though 2019 is nowhere near as bad as 2000). Francona got fired after 2000. In some ways, one could say it wasn't fair as he had some bad luck--notably, what looked like a strong starting rotation falling apart with injuries to Schilling and Byrd and ineffectiveness by Ashby and Mike Jackson never throwing a pitch after getting hurt warming up on Opening Day which had a disastrous domino effect on what was a weak bullpen--and, in many ways, he died for the sins of Montgomery (lack of spending) and Wade (unjustified faith in certain players). But, at the same time, the Phillies simply weren't getting better and the mix with him and that team simply wasn't there. In hindsight, Francona--though he is now a future HOF manager--was grossly miscast as the right guy for a young, developing team which the Phillies were at that time and which probably needed a little more order and direction (and Francona would prosper in Boston and Cleveland where he had teams filled with accomplished veterans with strong personalities and good leadership qualities who could police themselves). And, his overly positive approach didn't help when they struggled. Instead of getting angry and fighting their way out of it, his players seemingly began to feel sorry for themselves as much as Francona often said that he felt sorry for them.
Now flip ahead to the Kapler years. Much the same outcome. Yes, Kapler has had bad luck which has been well-documented. And yes, if he was to be fired, he would be dying for the sins of Middleton, McFail and Klentak in many ways. But, at the same time, he's not helping. I don't see any fight in this team. Late inning comebacks have been rare for this team all season long. Now, they are folding up their tents. Rather than create an atmosphere where a team battles and fights, I think his demeanor and personality has created a team that is basically soft and a group of pushovers. While this Phillies team is not necessarily young, it is still trying to find its identity. And, hence, as was the case with Francona, I don't think the sensitive male approach is right for this group. I'm not saying go full Larry Bowa, but someone who gives them more of a take-charge personality would be nice. And yes, his handling of strategy has been suspect (though Charlie Manuel was never Boris Kasparov with a lineup card, either). I guess, like Francona, though it is not all his fault, a bad karma has really come over this clubhouse and, fairly or not, a new voice is needed to change that.
And, with regard to those who wonder if Kapler will become Tito 2.0, I doubt it. He is far too hands-on with strategy and I get the sense that players don't like playing for him.
Here's my prediction. I think Kapler gets fired, possibly as soon as tomorrow. And, McPhail suddenly decides to re-retire, this time for good, rather than deal with an angry Middleton and be tasked cleaning up the mess that was created on his watch, bringing to an end a baseball career that has been objectively mediocre since he left Minnesota (he will NOT be joining his grandfather and father as HOF executives though he might have if he presided over a Phillies renaissance). Then, Klentak will have a couple of months to decide if he pulls a Sam Hinkie and quits if he has to work under a new club president with whom he is not on the same page. But regardless, I do not think he is a good general manager, at all. Is Middleton a good owner? Not sure. It's important to note that he's a guy who inherited more than he accomplished. His father built the tobacco company he sold for billions, he didn't. I'm not saying he's a dumb rich kid a la Paris Hilton, the Kardashians, George W. Bush or the two Trump boys but is there evidence out there that he has a sound business mind? Something to consider.