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How Phillies manager Gabe Kapler handled the Bryce Harper off-season rumors

Bryce Harper is finally a Philadelphia Phillie, but what was it like from a manager’s perspective dealing with all the drama?

Gabe Kapler joined the Marks and Reese Show Tuesday afternoon on 94WIP to discuss how he approached the Bryce Harper rumors in the weeks and months leading up to the signing.

There were two ways Kapler approached the news, the first was the feeling the general excitement and riding the waves of emotion.

“We approached it in two different ways. The first way was genuine excitement every time his name came up. The first thing we are before baseball people, we’re human beings. We ride the waves of emotion.”

But then there’s the other side of it because Kapler has to manage a professional baseball team.

“The other way we approached it and the one we played close attention to is, if I’m going to expect our players to not pay attention to trade rumors and to focus on the things they can control in the batting cage, on the mound, on the dirt, on the bases, then I needed to do the same thing.

Kapler talked about what Harper was like in Las Vegas.

“I think that Bryce is a very intelligent person, he’s a very prepared person.

“The first thing I learned is he knows his history. He knew all about the Philadelphia Phillies when we got to Las Vegas. From the opposing dugout, we saw that Bryce is an intense competitor. He’s also very intense in his conversations, very connected, very engaged and an excellent listener. Since he’s been in our clubhouse, I’ve only seen the same things.”

Kapler discussed what he learned from his first year managing the Phillies last season.

“We were in first place through the middle of the summer, we won 80 games, a significant increase from 2017. The biggest lesson, the obvious takeaway, is that it’s not good enough.

“One of the things I became sensitive to is balancing game strategy with the emotion of the players. The better that we got at that as a team, really paying attention to what was happening inside the brain and hearts of our players, and then balancing that with strategic and tactical advantages.”

A significant increase in wins will be expected again for the Phillies with Harper in tow.

You can listen to Kapler’s entire interview on WIP below.


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