Spring Training is a time of unlimited possibilities. The reason is simple: no one has lost a game yet. That is particularly true during the early days of spring, when fans–and even the Tampa Bay Rays’ manager and President of Baseball Operations–can dream about their team’s infinite potential. Fans shouldn’t expect much news from these early workouts, and the Rays’ first full team workout didn’t disappoint on that score.
As expected, Rays President of baseball operations Matt Silverman praised his new manager Kevin Cash. According to the Rays’ official website, Silverman called Cash’s remarks to the team “compact and powerful.”
"“This was his first opportunity to show his style to the entire group. He prepared for it, which is his personality. He knew what he wanted to say. He didn’t mince words and he came directly at the players. And that’s going to be his approach throughout.”"
That was what you would expect the President of Baseball Operations to say about his handpicked rookie manager. Other news coming out of the first workout was that the pitchers are ahead of the hitters (not surprising since the pitchers have been in camp for a week) and that Evan Longoria is enthusiastic about the team’s chances this year. Cash also told the players that they needed to work as a team and “have each other’s backs.”
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Most fans probably hope Kevin Cash will be tough and hold players accountable. We certainly don’t want him to be a wimp. As great a manager as Joe Maddon was for the team, he would sometimes stick with a player he believed in past the time when other observers thought he should try someone else. That was one reason Grant Balfour stayed so long in the closer’s role last year or why Carlos Pena played in 160 games in his subpar 2012.
Probably the most important decision Cash needs to make during spring training is to pick the players that will get the bulk of playing time at short and second. Who is he going to choose? There’s only one possible answer, and it’s the same answer every manager gives at this time: “it’s too early to tell.” After all, hope and cliches abound this early in the spring, and the Tampa Bay Rays are no exception.