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Phillies expected to hire Gabe Kapler as manager

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that Gabe Kapler is likely to be the Phillies’ next manager, as the club is “focused” on him in their search. An announcement could come as early as Monday, according to Heyman.

Kapler, 42, spent parts of 12 years in the majors from 1998-2010 with the Red Sox, Rangers, Rays, Rockies, Tigers, and Brewers. After retiring following the 2006 season, he managed Single-A Greenville in the Red Sox system in 2007. He unretired, then retired again in 2011. Kapler served as an analyst for Fox Sports 1 in 2013, then joined the Dodgers’ front office into his current role as the director of player development.

Kapler is Sabermetrically-fluent, which meshes well with the Phillies’ relatively new analytics-focused front office. He’s also passionate about healthy lifestyles, having written about the topic on the Internet in recent years. One of his suggestions was to, uh, expose one’s testicles to ultraviolet rays.

He’s not without controversy, however. Kapler was involved in an issue of alleged discrimination with the Dodgers, as Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported earlier this year. Nick Francona, son of Indians manager Terry and an Afghanistan war veteran, alleged that the Dodgers pushed him out of the organization after he went to a Boston-area organization to seek treatment for “invisible wounds of war.” Francona wrote a letter to Major League Baseball about the issue and focused mainly on Kapler, who was then Francona’s direct superior. That issue appears to have been swept under the rug.

Scooter Gennett wins arbitration case against Reds

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The Reds lost their first arbitration case of the offseason, per a report from Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Second baseman Scooter Gennett was awarded the $5.7 million salary figure he was seeking from the team, a $600,000 bump over the $5.1 million they countered with last month.

Gennett, 27, is coming off of a career-best performance in 2017. After getting claimed off of waivers by the Reds last March, he broke out with an impressive .295/.342/.531 batting line, 27 home runs and 2.4 fWAR in 497 plate appearances. By season’s end, he ranked among the top five most productive second basemen in the National League (and 12th overall). He’s currently set to remain under team control through 2019.

Gennett was only the second Reds player to go to an arbitration hearing this winter. Fellow infielder Eugenio Suarez was defeated in arbitration last week and stands to make just $3.75 million compared to the $4.2 million he filed for in January. All 22 arbitration cases have now been resolved. Twelve were decided in favor of the players.