Monday night was a busy one for the Tampa Bay Rays as their skipper and ace were named finalists for the BBWAA awards to be announced next week and Erik Neander arrived in California for the beginning of the GM meetings.
Cash and Snell
Tampa Bay Rays coach Kevin Cash and ace Blake Snell were announced as a finalists for a pair of awards last night. Kevin Cash joined Bob Melvin and Alex Cora as finalists for the Manager of the Year award. Blake Snell joined Justin Verlander and Corey Kluber as finalists for the Cy Young award.
Blake Snell is arguably the favorite to win the Cy Young and he would be a sure-fire bet to win the award if only he had thrown more than 180.2 innings pitched. Justin Verlander is expected to give the Rays ace the biggest run for his money as voters decide who to name the 2018 Cy Young.
The Cy Young races in both the American League and the National League are shaping up to be the most polarizing in years, possibly in history. In the AL, Blake Snell wining would rewrite the unwritten rules regarding innings pitched and winning the Cy Young award. In the NL, Jacob deGrom would redefine what wins mean to writers when deciding who wins the award.
Kevin Cash may be on the outside looking in as the first time manager, Alex Cora, led the Red Sox to a world championship. Bob Melvin led the Oakland Athletics to the playoffs and 97 wins when they were expected to do just the opposite. Lastly, Kevin Cash led the Tampa Bay Rays to their first winning season in one of the toughest divisions in baseball. After a complete tear down in the offseason, Cash led the Rays to 90 wins, debuted the opener, and managed countless rookies.
With Cash’s performance in the dugout this year, the AL Manager of the Year award could be the hardest decision for voters in 2018.
These next three days could lay the foundation for the rest of a busy offseason for the Rays. Erik Neander and company will formally begin discussions as the GM meetings begin today in California. Trades have been made during these three days in the past but I wouldn’t expect anything exciting to happen.
Notable trades aren’t out of the question but tend to be a bit more rare. The Rays still have some players to move around as they look to create roster room and that could actually come into play as they look to possibly move some smaller pieces. Only time will tell, by the end of Thursday the Rays could possibly have a few new faces and be without some familiar faces.
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With the Rays looking to get back to the playoffs, Erik Neander could be more aggressive than usual during these meetings. Stay tuned for updates…