The announcement of Phillies new bench coach, Rob Thompson, leaves just one vacancy left for Kapler’s inaugural coaching staff, first base. During the World Series run in the late 2000’s the Phillies were spoiled with Davey Lopes, whom Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Shane Victorino credited much of their baserunning and stealing prowess to. His three years as Phillies first base coach saw the team have the highest stealing percentage in the league.
Following Lopes’s dismissal after the 2010 season they turned to former Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo. Even with baserunning talent such as the aforementioned Rollins, Utley and Victorino the team started to trend downwards in stealing percentage and total stolen bases. After, Perlozzo, the Phillies turned to Mickey Morandini. The Morandini era of first base was lacking in elite baserunning talent and had a conservative approach to baserunning but still saw growth from the likes of Freddy Galvis, Cesar Hernandez and Odubel Hernandez. He was re asssigned to “Club Ambassador” following the hire of Gabe Kapler.
Knowing the super long list of potential first base candidates since literally anyone can be first base coach, we can narrow it down to possibly some contenders based on rumors, previous hires and connections to the organization and coaches.
Samuel has been on the Phillies coaching staff since 2011, following his brief stint at Interim manager of the Orioles. Samuel as well as recently promoted pitching coach Rick Kranitz are the only coaching holdovers from Mackanin’s staff who have not been promoted to “Club Ambassador”, that could be a sign Kapler has a plan for Samuel or he is simply unsigned. Odds- 10/1
Lopes and Kapler worked together briefly in Los Angeles, as was mentioned he was with the Phillies from 2007-2010 and was credited with helping Utley, Rollins and Victorino become premiere baserunners. Could Lopes return and do the same for Crawford, Herrera and Williams?
Ruben Amaro Jr-
Amaro Jr has been with the Phillies since the early 2000s working under then GM Ed Wade and becoming Assistant GM during the Pat Gillick era. Following Gillick’s retirement he was promoted to manager and proceeded to bring in elite pitching talent such as Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt. He also made two horrible trades for Hunter Pence. He began his coaching career as first base coach for the Red Sox in 2015 following his departure from the Phillies.
Odds- Zero, he was hired as Mets first base coach, just wanted to spook ya.
Ibanez has been a wildcard in several coaching searches the past two years including being a finalist for the Tampa Bay managerial job. Ibanez was brought into the Phillies after Pat “Man or Machine” Burrell left via free agency. Ibanez had mixed success during his seasons in Philadelphia but still became a fan favorite.
Odds- Not likely.
In all there are so many names out there and no one truly knows what Kapler has planned for first base. Just some names to keep an eye on over the next coming days.
Photo Credit: Philly.com