The Cesar Hernandez Incident
Later in the 2019 season, the Phillies experienced another incident of failed hustle. This time, it was second baseman Cesar Hernandez.
Not every player is going to hustle on every play like Hunter Pence.
However, when it continues to be an issue, it becomes frustrating from an observer’s standpoint.
When the lack of effort becomes a consistent theme like it was for the Phillies in 2019, it reflects poorly on the manager and his coaches. The fact that it became a recurring theme shows just how little control the Phillies manager had over his players.
Unlike the Segura incident, this example included some actual action on the part of Kapler.
After failing to run out a ground ball in an August game against the Miami Marlins, Hernandez was not in the lineup the following day. Kapler stated that the decision to bench Hernandez was in response to the lack of hustle.
If the story ended there, it would have been some positive growth on Kapler’s part.
Instead, when Hernandez was asked about the benching, he said that it was not related to his lack of hustle in the prior game.
Clearly, there were some mixed signals or crossed wires here.
The confusion eventually made its way back to Kapler, who had to explain to Hernandez that the benching was in direct response to his lack of hustling.
However, Kapler also tried to clear things up by saying: “It’s not a punishment. It’s a response.”
Another prime example of poor or nonexistent communication between the Phillies manager and his players. Kapler wanted to prove that he could hold his players accountable, and he did so by explaining the decision to bench Hernandez to the media, but not to Hernandez himself.
If Kapler really wants to establish a culture of accountability as the new San Francisco Giants manager, then he simply has to do better.
The three incidents referenced above have all taken place in the last 14 months. How much did Kapler learn and grow in the time span? It is hard to tell.
However, if these examples shed any light on Kapler’s ability to breed a culture of accountability, it really does not show any growth at all. The Phillies players seemingly acted a certain way without fear of the consequences.
Fortunately, the San Francisco Giants have a strong, veteran core that can help hold the team accountable if the manager fails to do so. But at some point, coaching flaws like this will be exposed, especially if Kapler does not learn from his past mistakes in Philadelphia.