After leading the Tampa Bay Rays to an unexpected 90 wins, the Rays skipper finished third on the Manager of the Year ballot voted on by BBWAA writers.
Kevin Cash of the Tampa Bay Rays finished third on the 2018 AL Manager of the Year award ballot, and honestly it is pretty disappointing. The Rays front office asked Cash to do the unthinkable, lead a team stripped of its pieces through the gauntlet that was the American League.
After stumbling through a brutal April, as one would expect, they began selling again just as they had just a few months earlier. This time, trading Alex Colome and Denard Span away in May. Later in June, they would trade away Brad Miller as well, for eventual fan favorite Ji-Man Choi.
Leading a team that was practically unrecognizable from years past, Cash steered an uncertain ship towards the .500 mark. They would flirt with .500 baseball for almost two and a half months before finally taking off. In those two and a half months, Blake Snell would emerge as the ace of the future and the Rays would sell again and trade away their ace of the past to the Pirates and Eovaldi to the Red Sox.
Unfazed, Cash led the Rays to their best stretch of baseball in years. In the final two months of the season, Cash led the Rays to a 35-19 record as they chased the second wildcard spot. In the end though, they couldn’t catch Bob Melvin’s Athletics.
Speaking of Melvin, he too deserved a lot of consideration for the award. He led the Oakland Athletics to an astounding 97 wins and a surprising playoff berth, but his team wasn’t stripped away piece by piece the previous offseason. He did a fantastic job at the helm in Oakland but he didn’t do the seemingly impossible, which is what Kevin Cash did.
Alex Cora led an all-star laden roster that was built for a late October run, to just that, a World Championship. Kudos to Alex Cora, but like Bob Melvin, he did not do the seemingly impossible. Cora in fact, did the opposite, he accomplished what we all knew was possible.
Unlike Cora and Melvin, Cash did the unthinkable and as a result, he should have been voted the Manager of the Year.
He led a team that was supposedly “tanking” to 90 wins.
He implemented a pitching strategy that took the baseball world by storm.
He led a team with a starting rotation, that at one point consisted of one starter, to their most successful season since 2013.
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I will say it once more because it needs to be said…Kevin Cash did the impossible and unthinkable in 2018 and as a result he should have been named the Manager of the Year.