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Giants Fire Gabe Kapler After 4 Seasons, 1 Playoff Trip

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After a late-season collapse that eliminated the team from playoff contention and raised concerns about the future of the organization, the San Francisco Giants fired manager Gabe Kapler on Friday.

The decision to fire him was taken with three games left in the regular season and a 78-81 record for the Giants. Farhan Zaidi, the president of baseball operations for the Giants, claimed in a statement that he first “recommended to ownership” that Kapler be fired and that he subsequently carried it out “after receiving their approval.”

The Giants’ final three games, which include Friday’s 6-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, are being managed by Kai Correa.

The Giants’ 107-55 campaign in 2021 marked the first time in the previous 11 years that a team finished ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West under Kapler, 48, who took over as manager in 2020. The Giants struggled to build on their success from the previous season, finishing with an 81-81 record after the Dodgers defeated them in the division series that year.

Although owner Greg Johnson had promised to retain Zaidi and Kapler at least to the conclusion of their contracts in 2024, he changed his mind about Kapler, creating another management opportunity in a winter that is anticipated to be full with openings.

Terry Francona of Cleveland will step down after this weekend, and the futures of Craig Counsell of Milwaukee, Dusty Baker of Houston, Phil Nevin of the Los Angeles Angels, Buck Showalter of the New York Mets, and Bob Melvin of the San Diego Padres, all of whose contracts are up for renewal, are still up in the air.

The Giants appeared to be on track for a comeback in the days following the All-Star break. They were only 112 games behind the Dodgers and had a season-high 13 games over.500. The second-worst record in the NL since July 18 is held by San Francisco, and the Giants have slipped in the standings behind the Arizona Diamondbacks and Padres.

As the Giants finished a month in which they went 8-18, frustration bubbled up to the surface in recent weeks.

Ace Logan Webb, who is 11-13 this season despite leading the NL in innings pitched and strikeout-to-walk ratio, said this week: “I’m tired of losing. It’s not enjoyable. It’s not fun. We have to make some big changes in here to create that winning culture that we want to show up every single year and try to win the whole thing.”

Zaidi said Friday that the Giants played their “worst baseball when it mattered the most.”

“To go out on that last road trip still in the wild card, still controlling our own destiny, and then playing the way we did when we controlled our own destiny, those are hard to watch for everybody,” Zaidi said. “It was hard for the players to go through, it was hard for fans to watch, it was hard for us as an organization to watch. That sort of really accelerated our view that we need to make difficult decisions and think about things differently.”

The Giants are anticipated to be active in free agency this winter, including pursuing superstar Shohei Ohtani, with only $110 million committed to their payroll in 2024 and just $45 million in 2025.

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