SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants' search for Bruce Bochy's replacement was remarkably quiet, so as reporters and fans tried to figure out where it was all going, some kept coming back to something Farhan Zaidi said when he sat at a podium two days after the final game of the season. Zaidi had talked about how helpful it was to have prior experience and how that could set you up to be more successful the second time around, and that certainly sounded like an endorsement of Gabe Kapler's candidacy.
On Tuesday, a few minutes after he officially named Kapler his first hand-picked manager, Zaidi said he did keep thinking back to something he said that day. But it wasn't about experience.
"Probably the key thing we were looking for, in one sentence, is 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 he was the person who would best execute on that."
Kapler is following a man who did that in San Francisco for more than a decade, grabbing three rings on his way to the Hall of Fame. Those are huge shoes -- and a big cap -- to fill, and while Kapler is the polar opposite of Bochy in many ways, he is known as a very strong communicator.
"He basically always has an open-door policy," Phillies analyst Ben Davis said Tuesday night. "(He says) 'You wanna talk? We'll sit down and talk. We'll go over it. We'll discuss things.' So, I think that communication lines are always going to be open. It's something that he really strives for in that managerial position."
The concept of communication has changed in baseball clubhouses in recent years. It's no longer just about how a player is feeling at the plate or how his pitching arm might be holding up. A large part of the job now is communicating a front office's plans -- shifts, platoons, etc. -- and analytics to players, and Kapler has done that in the minor leagues and the big leagues. He even did it as a member of the media, hosting segments for Fox Sports after he retired in which he explained sabermetrics.
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Kapler's reputation took a hit in Philadelphia, but in the years before he got that job, he received plenty of credit for helping the Dodgers build one of the game's best farm systems, one that uses advanced methods of development. Zaidi is confident Kapler can do the same for the Giants, in part because he was there to watch what he was able to accomplish with Dodgers players.
"In my professional experience with Gabe, as a farm director in L.A., the one thing that stands out to me is that he just worked tirelessly every day to make the organization better," Zaidi said. "I think he took that as a challenge every day and I think he was successful in that."