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After a challenging winter, Gabe Kapler wants to focus on the players



CLEARWATER, Fla. – A controversy that arose from his handling of a situation during his time as a Los Angeles Dodgers official, Gabe Kapler recently put under the heat lamps.

But on the first day of his second season Phillies Manager Wednesday, Kapler focused his entire attention on his players.

"I have addressed this situation publicly in detail," he said, referring to the 1,300-word response he had written after a Washington Post story in which he dealt with the alleged attack in 2015. " This is a camp where I really want to put the attention and focus on our players. So that's not a question I'm going to address.

Kapler admitted that the off-season was a challenge.

Three months before the Post Report, he lost his home in the forest fires in Malibu, California. 1

9659002] "There is no question that there were some challenges in this offseason," he said. "I have focused on others with these challenges. I think these lessons are considered a team for us. If you want to achieve something that is important, you can not do it alone, you have to rely on others for support, and you must support those who depend on you. I think, so I approached this offseason, so I will approach the spring training, and so we will approach the season.

Kapler was pressured to see if the situation in which the alleged attack of 2015 lies creates him a credibility problem in the clubhouse he now oversees.

"We spent a lot of time communicating with each other over the past low season," he said. "I communicated frequently with our players. I communicated frequently with our employees. We use many processes and practices to improve this communication, and I think the best way to address it is through the upcoming actions. I think we will see that the relationships in the clubhouse are intact and strong. "

But there will be changes in the clubhouse.

Kapler was asked if he would change anything in year 2 and he did not hesitate with his answer.

"We will have some limits in the clubhouse, which are a bit stronger," he said. "Last year, I emphasized that we wanted the players to be themselves and be celebrated for who they were. We will continue to emphasize that. At the same time, we implement systems and processes and boundaries that make it clear that we have to work here every day. Spring training will be the starting point. Everything we do will have a higher intensity. Our attention to detail will be stronger. And there are some limits. Not that I'm going to implement a set of rules that are different from last year, but I'll say that we'll raise the bar on behavior across the board.

Kapler declined to give examples of he will lead a narrower ship.

"There is nothing specific to which I can point out," he said. "I can only tell you that it is a priority for us."

A narrower ship. More attention to detail. These are understandable changes, considering what happened in the last season. The Phils were in first place in early August with 15 games over .500. They lost 33 of their last 49 games and finished their sixth straight season. In September, General Manager Matt Klentak used the word "miserable" to describe the last few weeks of the season.

Kapler moved on.

"We're in spring training in 2019," he said. "I will not say that I can not remember how difficult the end of 2018 was. We'll just use it as motivation every day. Not doing the work, not completing the job is an incredible fuel to have better practices and to focus more on the small details of the work we do in spring training. "

Kapler has more to do in 2019. The Rhys Hoskins Outfield Experiment is over. He is back in his comfort zone at the first base. Andrew McCutchen, Jean Segura, David Robertson and J.T. Realmuto – all time-tested talents – have been added and more could come in the form of Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, Mike Moustaka, Dallas Keuchel or Craig Kimbrel. Yes, the Phillies are definitely breaking a seven-year drought after the season.

With an improved squad, expectations are rising, and as expectations increase, the manager is under more pressure. The focus is where he wants it – on the players and not on him.

"I think it's important that the players who are in the camp keep lighting up," Kapler said. "We have an improved roster all along the line. I think it's important that we get off to a good start, because that's good for the Philadelphia Phillies. My focus, my attention will always be on winning every night, putting our team in the best position to do it, and then doing it again the next day. "

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