For the second time in a week, the Cleveland Indians have lost another member of their coaching staff as the Tampa Bay Rays have hired Matt Quatraro away to become their new third base coach.
They say you can never come home but for Matt Quatraro that is not the case as he returns to the organization where he began his professional baseball career. On Tuesday morning, the Tampa Bay Rays announced the hiring of Quatraro who returns after spending the past four seasons as the Indians assistant hitting coach.
Quatraro is the newest member to join Kevin Cash’s coaching staff, joining Kyle Snyder who was hired as the Rays pitching coach following the departure of Jim Hickey last month. In addition to Quatraro’s hiring, Cash also announced that first base coach Rocco Baldelli would shift his role into the dugout.
Baldelli’s coaching duties will be working as a field coordinator with the outfielders and on defense alignments during the game. He will also serve as a liaison with the front office and minor-league staffs. Cash also said a new first base coach should be announced following the World Series.
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Drafted as an eighth round pick by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the June 1996 MLB Draft, Quatraro spent the first eighteen years of his career within the Rays organization.
He worked his way up the organizational ladder in numerous positions from coach, to manager and as then their minor league hitting coordinator following his seven-year playing career.
“My understanding of the role is that the in-game responsibility will be coaching third and all the preparation that goes into that, as far as studying opposing outfielders and infielders and how they handle their cuts and relays,” Quatraro said. “And try to be prepared for those situations as they come up and obviously getting to learn our baserunners to make good decisions.
In seven minor league seasons all with the Rays, Quatraro hit .286/.343/.416 with 23 home runs and 202 RBI in 415 games. The highest level he reached was in 2003 with the Durham Bulls, playing just 23 games.
"“Q brings tremendous knowledge in many areas and has been a big part of some very good teams,” said Cash. “He’s creative, a good communicator, and earns the respect and trust of his players. We’re excited to bring him back to the Rays.”"
During the 2004 season, the Devil Rays hired him as a catching instructor and coach with the Hudson Valley Renegades where he would also become their hitting coach a position he held for the 2004 and 2005 seasons.
Quatraro’s managerial career began the following season with the Renegades (2006-2007), followed by the Class-A Columbus Catfish (2008) with his final stop in 2009 with the Class-A Bowling Green Hot Rods.
In 2010 Quatraro became the Rays minor league hitting coordinator a post he held through the 2013 season before the Indians hired him as their assistant hitting coach in 2014. During his time with the Indians, they ranked fifth in the majors with 4.55 runs per game, second with 1,518 doubles, second with 2,734 walks and fifth with a .327 on-base percentage.