Gabe Kapler fiercely defends himself on WIP

Josh Ellis
NBC Sports Philadelphia

If you weren't awake before hearing Angelo Cataldi and Phillies manager Gabe Kapler square off on the 94WIP Morning Show Wednesday around 9:20 a.m., you are now.

Cataldi and Kapler went at it for the better part of 13 minutes, and neither held back.

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On Monday, Cataldi wrote an opinion piece for Philly Voice criticizing Phillies general manager Matt Klentak on a range of topics, including keeping his entire staff on for next year after this season's monumental collapse, his player personnel decisions and being disconnected with the city and its fans. Additionally, team president Andy MacPhail commented Tuesday that Kapler was perhaps too positive, which could hurt his credibility.

Kapler called in to defend himself and his boss.

The most interesting thing was the discussion about the fans and how they responded to the team, the analytics and Kapler's ways in his first season as manager. While Kapler said the most important thing to Phillies fans is winning, that could be disputed by how the city embraced the franchise this season, regularly leaving the seats at Citizens Bank Park half-empty, even in the heat of an August pennant race.

Kapler got into some baseball decisions, indicating that maybe Rhys Hoskins will play first base next season, Carlos Santana at third and that the team likes Scott Kingery at shortstop, but the two most important things surrounding the Phils this offseason, is how can they ignite a fire under the fan base to turn out as they did in the late 2000s and can they bring either Bryce Harper or Manny Machado to Philadelphia?

It was refreshing to hear Cataldi ask questions that many fans are asking, both on social media and on his radio show, to Kapler and it was great to hear Kapler answer them directly, honestly and to defend himself.

The offseason is enormous for the long-term health of baseball in this city, and I think that the organization is aware, from top to bottom, about what the fans want to see the next time the Phillies take the field.

We'll see if they deliver by March 28.

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