SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Gabe Kapler might need years to match the popularity of his predecessors with the San Francisco Giants.
Farhan Zaidi believes he will get there eventually.
Kapler has been hired as San Francisco’s manager a month after being fired from the same job by the Philadelphia Phillies. Kapler received a three-year contract to replace Bruce Bochy, a beloved figure who retired at the end of the season following 13 years and three championships with San Francisco.
The Giants made the announcement late Tuesday and planned a formal introduction Wednesday afternoon at the ballpark. Kapler is the second big hire in a matter of days by Zaidi, the Giants’ president of baseball operations. On Monday, Zaidi introduced new general manager Scott Harris, most recently an assistant GM for the Chicago Cubs.
Zaidi and Kapler are now reunited from their time with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where Kapler served as director of player development and Zaidi the general manager.
“The most important trait, if we could have summarized it in one sentence for the next manager, was somebody who was capable of building trust and relationships with both the players and the front office,” Zaidi said. “And in my experience with Gabe, and as we went through the interview process and got to learn more about him, it became clear to us that he was the person who could best execute on that.”
The 44-year-old Kapler was fired Oct. 10 after going 161-163 over two seasons with the Phillies. With slugger Bryce Harper their blockbuster acquisition, the Phillies finished 81-81 this year for their first non-losing season since 2012.
Last week, the Giants narrowed their managerial search to three finalists: Kapler, Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro.
Harris said he was impressed with the reference checks done on Kapler around the game. The Giants also received feedback from current San Francisco players.
Still, there will be scrutiny.
The Washington Post reported in February that Kapler did not alert police of an alleged sexual assault by one of his Dodgers players in 2015. The newspaper said Kapler received an email from a 17-year-old girl saying she had been sexually assaulted during a night of partying with two Los Angeles minor leaguers. Kapler tried to arrange a dinner with the girl and the two players, and engaged in discussions with the girl’s grandmother, but he never alerted authorities.
Kapler told the newspaper his actions were in line with club policy and advice offered by Dodgers’ lawyers and human resources personnel. He also said he was not aware of the sexual assault allegation.
Zaidi said Tuesday he wishes he had handled the matter differently.
“We’ve had the opportunity to talk to people in the community and talk to experts to try to learn and understand what we did and what we did wrong,” Zaidi said. “As I’ve had time to reflect on it, I’ve realized the biggest mistake we made was asking the wrong questions. In those situations, we asked, ‘What do we have to do?’ instead of ‘What is the right thing to do?’”