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Who do you trust to run the Phillies?

The Phillies’ larger problem is a seeming lack of direction.

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MLB: Philadelphia Phillies-Press Conference Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

As we enter Day 10 of Kapler Watch, you could be excused if you didn’t have any idea what the Philadelphia Phillies are doing right now.

No one from the organization has addressed the media since the season ended 10 days ago. Jon Heyman reports Gabe Kapler, the embattled Phils manager at the center of so much speculation, still hasn’t heard a word from his bosses regarding his job. And this morning, Matt Gelb of The Athletic is reporting that multiple sources say there is mutual interest between the Phillies and former Orioles and Yankees manager Buck Showalter — for a job that is not yet vacant.

Middleton is reportedly doing “due diligence” with regard to making a decision on his skipper, including getting on his now-famous private plane to meet with players about their field general.

General manager Matt Klentak is said to want Kapler to stay on the job, but it’s clear Middleton is not listening solely to his GM, the man he hired to make decisions precisely like this one. Team president Andy MacPhail hasn’t been seen or heard from since scolding beat reporters for inquiring about Kapler’s future shortly before the All Star Break, so it’s unclear the degree to which he’s involved in making this decision.

There’s no way to get a whip count from inside the front office, but NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury, and many others, have reported this appears to be Middleton’s decision alone and that he’s making the rounds to get as many different opinions on this decision as possible.

However, that raises an all-important question. Why is this John Middleton’s decision?

Middleton is not a baseball man. He is an owner who knows a lot about baseball. But there is a reason owners do not normally get this involved in decisions like this and Middleton hired MacPhail, a very experienced hand, to be his president of baseball operations. Doesn’t this seem like a decision that should be in the purview of the guy whose in charge of baseball ops? Or is that simply not MacPhail’s responsibility anymore?

One of two things is happening here. Either MacPhail agrees with Klentak on Kapler and/or believes it’s Klentak’s decision to make, or he disagrees with Klentak and thinks Kapler should be fired. The first situation calls into question the level of confidence Middleton has in MacPhail, if he’s not listening to his seasoned baseball ops man on this issue. The second situation calls into question the confidence level MacPhail and Middleton have for Klentak, who is clearly in favor of retaining his hand-picked skipper.

That the decision has largely been taken out of the hands of the baseball people calls into question just why the heck they should be here at all. How much confidence can anyone have in MacPhail and/or Klentak if their boss has decided to be responsible for a decision with such clear on-field implications?

And even if Kapler is retained, how much of a say will he have in naming his new hitting and pitching coaches? How much of that will fall on Klentak? Can we trust Klentak and Kapler’s decisions on these all-important positions, given the mistakes they made with former pitching coach Chris Young and hitting coach John Mallee?

If Buck Showalter is available, and Middleton has reached out to him, that’s a move that would almost certainly strip even more power from the hands of Klentak. Would Klentak even want to stay on as the GM of a team with a manager that has never been beholdened to what his general manager advises? Kapler is an extension of Klentak, and bringing in a guy like Showalter would seemingly be the polar opposite of that relationship. Clearly someone leaked this information to Gelb, and the fact there is “mutual interest” reflects poorly on both Klentak and Kapler.

The bottom line here is that it doesn’t feel like there is anyone with baseball experience running the ship. Who do you trust to run the Phillies? Do you trust MacPhail? Do you trust Klentak? After this is all over, how much power will either man have? How much power do they have now? Has Klentak gotten enough correct to warrant having the kind of power a GM should be allowed to wield?

This is a mess and the Phillies can spin it any way they want to, but they are bungling this decision by not acting with decisiveness and conviction. There are valid reasons to both fire and retain Gabe Kapler, but the inaction is extremely perplexing. It’s fine to be deliberate and thorough, but it’s not like we didn’t know this situation was coming to a head in August and September, and that’s when the due diligence should have begun. Not now.

The Phils are likely to make a decision on Kapler in the next day or two, but a lot of damage to the reputations of MacPhail, Klentak and Kapler have already been done. Heck, to Middleton, too.

For everyone’s sake, this needs to end. Make a decision and plow forward with conviction.

On Episode 325 of Hittin’ Season, Yahoo! Sports’ Liz Roscher and Justin Klugh of Fangraphs and Baseball Prospectus joined me to talk about the Phillies’ confounding process and whether or not this is good for anyone.