Roman Quinn

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Roman Quinn: I love Gabe Kapler’s positivity

Tim Kelly
February 06, 2019 - 7:00 am

Last August, Philadelphia Phillies manager Gabe Kapler told the SportsRadio94WIP Morning Show that Roman Quinn was “as talented and physically gifted as anyone on our roster.” Kapler’s fondness for Quinn is apparently reciprocated.

Quinn joined me on the latest edition of High Hopes' Mound Visit with Tim Kelly and was very complimentary of the positivity that made Kapler a polarizing figure during the 2018 season.

“Gabe is a great guy, he’s really positive,” Quinn said of Kapler, who is entering his second season as Phillies manager. “He’s a great leader, he never has anything negative to say about anyone and he always goes about his business the right way. Even when things aren’t going his way or going the team’s way, he’s always positive, he always remains strong and that’s one thing that I love about Gabe.”

Having not posted a winning season since 2011, the Phillies entered August of 2018 in first place in the National League East. Kapler, in his first season as a manager, had helped the Phillies to enter the final two months of the season with a chance to snap a seven-year postseason drought. Instead of that happening, however, the Phillies went 21-34 after the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Not only did the Phillies not win the National League East, but they finished in third place, behind both the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals, with an 80-82 record.

Even in the midst of a second-half collapse, Kapler often would find a silver linings in his postgame press conferences. It was something that certainly drew it’s fair share of criticism on WIP’s airwaves. More than that, though, the Phillies front-office seemed to acknowledge in their season-ending press conferences that it would behoove Kapler not to always be as positive publicly after losses. General manager Matt Klentak said in his final press conference of the 2018 season that Kapler learned his rookie season as a manager that “perception matters.” President Andy MacPhail said that Kapler needed to find a way to mix not publicly criticizing his players, but also showing some of the same frustration that fans feel.

Quinn, 25, says that while Kapler is able to flip a switch and have tough conversations with players when need be, his positivity is still refreshing. And Quinn believes that the results of a game (and a season) are largely dependent upon the players, not the manager.

“Most definitely (I like that Kapler always remains positive),” Quinn reiterated. “Like anything in life, you go through tough times and you can’t really dwell in the past. The only way to go about that is to remain positive, stay strong and encourage the guys, because he’s a great manager, he’s a great leader, but at the end of the day, the players have to play and the pitchers have to pitch and the hitters have to hit.”

The easiest way to alleviate pressure on a manager—and limit the amount of chances he has to put a positive spin on a loss—is to allow him to pencil more talented players into his lineup card every game.

Quinn, who has dealt with a long injury history, says he’s healthy as Spring Training approaches. Kapler predicted last month that Scott Kingery, also in his second season, will be the Phillies most improved player in 2019. The Phillies added three productive veterans this offseason; Jean Segura through a trade with the Seattle Mariners, and Andrew McCutchen and David Robertson via free-agency. At the very least, the Phillies should be able to make incremental improvements in 2019, and that’s without a resolution to the Bryce Harper/Manny Machado saga, where the Phillies reportedly still feel good about their chances to land one of the two 26-year-old stars.

Like Kapler, Quinn is an optimist. Despite improvements made around the National League East, Quinn thinks the Phillies will “definitely” be a playoff team in 2019. And he seems to think that it won’t only be him and Kapler that have a positive feeling throughout the course of the 2019 season.

“There’s a lot of things that Phillies fans have to be excited about. And I know they’re looking forward to it.”