Kevin Cash To Return in 2018 as Rays Manager

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 8: Manager Kevin Cash (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 8: Manager Kevin Cash (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) /

Despite the trials and tribulations of having no managerial experience, a low team payroll, significant injuries and losing seasons in his first two years, Kevin Cash will return as the Rays manager in 2018.

Thrust into a job to replace Joe Maddon the most successful manager in Ray’s history in 2015, Kevin Cash outdueled a handful of experienced baseball astuteness from ex-players, which included him to ex-managers.

Many baseball pundits were surprised of the Rays decision to go with an inexperienced skipper, but the Rays took a chance, just as they did with Maddon. Life in the manager’s seat has not been easy for Kevin Cash and despite all of the inconsistencies, the trades, and roster moves Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Cash will return in 2018.

“Kevin is incredibly consistent with his energy, authenticity and the way that he guides this team,” general manager Erik Neander said.

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There was something about Cash that the Rays not only liked about, but what they saw which led them to giving him a five-year contract with two options. Truly unheard of for a newbie especially one with no prior managerial experience at any level.

What they saw in Kevin Cash was someone with a fanatical baseball mind, someone that can and could change with the progression of the game. They were also aware of how well respected he was not only from the teams that he played on, but from others as well.

The respect, the enthusiasm, how he runs the Ray’s is unprecedented in terms of how he has handled the Rays since he stepped into the role in 2015 with the numerous injuries, the payroll in terms of losing key players or not being able to obtain them is key.

"GM Erik Neander credits Cash for ensuring that the club has “showed up every day well-prepared to compete and to make the most of their abilities.”"

While fans do not necessarily understand his way of doing things, how he handles the pitchers, or the lineups he writes, Cash is not afraid to take blame when he errors, he owns up to it. Case in point was last season with the Rays ongoing base-running issues, mental mistakes on defense, hitters not being smarter at the plate and the pitchers not being aggressive enough.

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“We’ve spent a lot of time talking about it, what can we do better this last month, what we can address more of. It’s going to take all of us, myself, getting a little more hands-on and coaching these guys, trying to play it out how it’s going to happen before it actually does.

I think there’d be some benefit to that. I’m disappointed with the way that I’ve handled things with them,” Cash said, somewhat magnanimously. “I’m surprised at my lack of communication with them.”

In as much Cash owns up to his own errors, he is also the first to admit that he still has much to learn about the managerial aspects of the game, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.

Since Cash has been manager, the Rays have had their share of injuries and some if not most long-term plus the numerous trades and numerous roster moves. Injuries to starting pitchers Alex Cobb and Matt Moore (2014-16) with Tommy John surgeries, Matt Andriese (2017) with hip related problems, reliever Brad Boxberger (2016-17) oblique issues and then there is Kevin Kiermaier’s (2016-17) broken wrist and hip, are just some. The list could go on with much more.

"“There are things that we can all do to help this organization improve, and that certainly applies to the front office. But he’s doing the most critical part of his job, and one that tends to be less visible to the public, very well.” – Erik Neander, Rays GM"

Throughout all the inconsistencies the Rays have endured in Cash’s three years, many other teams would have fired him, but not the Rays as they are committed to Cash for how he has been able to run the team, remains positive and knows full well how the Rays organization is run in regards to their financial situation and what the implications mean.

Next: The Latest on the Rays' Stadium Situation

Despite all the trials and tribulations that Kevin Cash has endured in his three years as Ray’s manager, the Rays remain committed to him and he will return in 2018.