LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers will reportedly hire former major league player Gabe Kapler as its new farm director, per Mark Saxon of ESPN. Kapler will fill a position left vacant when player development head De Jon Watson left for a senior position with the Diamondbacks on Sept. 25 after eight years in Los Angeles.
The Dodgers officially announced the hire of general manager Farhan Zaidi and senior director of player development Josh Byrnes on Sunday, with Zaidi to be introduced at Dodger Stadium on Friday. Nothing has been announced regarding Kapler, nor the other rumored hires of scouting director Billy Gasparino and scout Jeff Pickler, both from San Diego with previous experience working with Byrnes.
Kapler hit .268/.329/.420 in parts of 12 major league seasons, ending in 2010. The former Taft High grad who played college baseball at Cal State Fullerton and Moorpark College was a non-roster invitee with the Dodgers in 2011, but retired after he was one of the final cuts.
Kapler, 39, played his final two major league seasons with the Rays under new Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. Kapler also took one year off during his playing career, briefly retiring to manage Class-A Greenville in the Red Sox system in 2007, before returning to playing in 2008.
Kapler also coached for Team Israel in 2012 in its 2013 World Baseball Classic qualifier, though the team was unable to advance to the tournament.
This would be his first job in a major league front office, presumably working under Byrnes, who will oversee scouting and player development.
He spent the last two years with Fox Sports both on television and writing articles online, as he described it, "combining an extensive playing background with an affinity for advanced baseball metrics, providing viewers with in-depth commentary and insight delivered in an understandable fashion."
Kapler helped fuel the rumor mill on Halloween with an accidental tweet — since deleted — responding to a direct message from Jerry Crasnick of ESPN about Kapler's reported hire by the Dodgers.
Kapler's best strength, judging from his writing and his television work, is as he says, a strong ability to explain and deliver information to a wider audience, and — looking at his personal writing on health and lifestyle — do so in a passionate, relentless fashion. On September, Kapler wrote about baseball's next competitive advantage for Fox Sports.
"The benefits of infusing a mindset of flexibility and adaptability are obvious. The only way to reap those benefits is if players, coaches and managers buy in," Kapler wrote. "By starting at the lowest levels, these men will have multiple years to learn and develop this flexibility before arriving onto the major league field."
Kapler will be the very person to instill that philosophy in the Dodgers' minor league system in his reported new role. If any players or coaches happen to object, all Kapler has to do is flex to drive home his point.