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Inside Gabe Kapler’s tenure as the head of the Dodgers player development department

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Over the weekend a story came out about an incident that took place in hotel room involving two Dodgers minor leaguers and three women back in 2015. The upshot: a 17-year-old runaway joined two other women with the players, was given alcohol, got sick and then was beaten up by the other two women while one of the players filmed it and posted the incident on social media.

This past weekend’s story revealed that the Dodgers were aware of the incident as soon as it happened and did not report it to police. Rather, then-head of player development Gabe Kapler tried to set up a dinner meeting between the 17-year-old and the players to try to smooth everything over. The dinner never happened. She later made allegations of sexual assault, but did not cooperate with the investigation, which was subsequently dropped (the Dodgers were unaware of sexual assault allegations). Since this all came out, Kapler’s and the Dodgers’ judgment in the matter has been questioned.

Today there is more on all of that over at Sports Illustrated. The story is largely about Nick Francona, the one-time Dodger employee and son of Terry Francona. His falling out with the Dodgers is well-documented and is gone over again here. New here are his reflections on what was going on inside the player development department at large at the time in question.

I am less interested in the stuff about Francona’s job history — I think it’s fair to say that both he and his employers handled things in a less-than ideal fashion in certain respects — than I am about the culture inside the Dodgers organization at that time, as reported in the story.

There were internal communications galore, but no external communications involving serious matters, it seems. There’s a scout registering anger that a player involved in a sexual assault was released, citing his pitching potential, his suitability for the Dominican Summer League and a dismissal of the seriousness of the charges against the player, saying “we definitely have at least 2/3 rapists on that team.” There’s also a statement from a Dodgers lawyer in the article which puts the onus on Nick Francona for not going over Gabe Kapler’s head to complain about all of this to Kapler’s superiors as, it would appear, a defense of Kapler not acting in a more reasonable fashion himself. Which is, to put it mildly, an odd way to approach things.

Between both of these stories, and the other stories that have come out which took place during Kapler’s tenure in Los Angeles, it sounds to me like there was something definitely wrong with how serious matters were handled in the Dodgers player development department. Whether it was a series of unrelated missteps and mistakes when stuff happened or, rather, a fundamental problem with organizational philosophy is unclear based on what we know at the moment, but it all sits wrong with me.

 

Zack Wheeler hits first career homer

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Mets starter Zack Wheeler wasn’t content with just dominating the Phillies on the mound Tuesday night in Queens. The 28-year-old decided to have himself a three-RBI night at the plate, too, including his first career home run.

With the Mets already leading 3-0 with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning, Wheeler lifted a first-pitch Zach Eflin fastball out to left-center field, landing well beyond the 370-foot sign on the wall. Wheeler had previously helped his own cause, lacing a two-run double down the right field line off of Eflin in the second inning.

Wheeler entered the night with 22 hits in 194 career trips to the plate. Of his 22 hits, five went for extra bases (all doubles). On the mound, through six innings, Wheeler has held the Phillies scoreless on five hits with no walks and 11 strikeouts.

Todd Frazier broke the game open in the fifth inning, hitting a grand slam off of Drew Anderson to push the Mets’ lead to 8-0. If the Phillies lose tonight, they will have lost five of their last six games.