Well the dust has settled and Kevin Cash is now the new manager for the Tampa Bay Rays. This tough decision was made on Friday afternoon by Matt Silverman, the new General Manager. Silverman made a gutsy move as he picked the young local kid as the next manager for this franchise. Silverman said he talked with Kevin Cash for about 12 hours on Wednesday and it seemed like he was only just getting started. Cash is 37 years old and comes to Tampa Bay with no managing experience as this is the scary part of this hire. There will certainly be some growing pains the first few seasons as he will be the youngest active coach in Major League Baseball. Cash is known for his fantastic communication skills as well as building relationships with the players. This seemed to give him the edge him over the other options. He just seemed to be a good fit with the way the organization is heading. The Rays’ front office chose him over Dave Wakamatsu who interviewed this past week too. This will be the new look Rays of 2015 as Matt Silverman has never been a GM and Kevin Cash has never been a manager. Tampa Bay is certainly shaking things up and giving this franchise some fresh faces.
Joe Maddon and Andrew Friedman are gone so Dave Martinez decided to leave Tampa as well. Martinez had been the bench coach since 2008 but was passed up as the new manager of the organization. He decided to join the Chicago Cubs as bench coach behind Joe Maddon just last week. Most fans thought he was the logical choice to step right in for Joe Maddon in Tampa but Matt Silverman and the front office had different ideas. The Rays narrowed it down to three names left on the list for managerial candidates during Thanksgiving. Kevin Cash, Raul Ibanez and Dave Wakamatsu were the candidates the Rays had chosen for second interviews from a group of 12. Raul Ibanez withdrew from managerial considerations just last Thursday. Kevin Cash was the youngest of the three but seems to be the correct decision since he has a background in this area. He worked with the Cleveland Indians as a bullpen coach for the last two seasons and was a former catcher. He has a baseball mind and fans are eager to see what he can bring to the table.
Jeremy Hellickson was also traded away for a pair of right handed minor league pitchers from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Joel Peralta was sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers for more minor league prospects. Jose Molina was finally released which is good news but the Rays will have to eat his salary. The Rays definitely trimmed some fat in the lineup by making some of these moves. Sean Rodriguez was also traded to the Pirates for cash. Rodriguez was a vital piece in the teams’ flexibility. Maddon enjoyed using these versatile type players but there is no more Joe Maddon so there is no more Sean Rodriguez. These are all big moves thus far and more will continue to spiral out as the front office heads to the Winter Meetings on Monday. Matt Joyce and David DeJesus could be the next on the trade block as the Rays have plenty of outfielders. Tampa needs a solid bat in the middle of the lineup to help beef up the offense. The Rays could get a decent return for Desmond Jennings as well.
This offseason will allow the front office to get together and make some big moves including filling in the rest of the coaching staff. One move which may be a fan favorite would be the firing of Derek Shelton. He is currently the hitting coach and he should be the first to go. The Rays will be a completely different team in 2015 but Kevin Cash has the best chance to bring back the same culture to clubhouse. He will be liked by most of the players and Silverman liked the idea of that continuity. Players like Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist will have to help guide the young players this upcoming season. There will be many new players and the organization will certainly take on a different feel and look without Friedman and Maddon. Maybe the Rays need someone a little stricter as the coach and maybe this young coach will be the spark this franchise needs. The payroll will be much lower than the franchise high of $80 million last season so there has to be major moves made to the current team. The new era of Ray’s baseball has now begun as Kevin Cash is taking the helm.