SEVIERVILLE (Smokies Baseball press release)—Kevin Cash is the Rays’ next manager. Named the fifth manager in team history on Friday, Cash will succeed Joe Maddon, who ended his nine-year tenure with the team by exercising an opt-out clause in his contract before agreeing to a five-year, $25 million deal to manage the Cubs.
Cash, 36, attended Tampa’s Gaither High School and Florida State, where he played infield when the Seminoles reached the 1999 College World Series. He becomes the youngest Major League manager since A.J. Hinch, who became the Diamondbacks’ manager at age 35 in 2009.
Cash spent eight seasons as a player in the Major Leagues, primarily as a catcher, with the Blue Jays, Devil Rays, Red Sox, Yankees and Astros. Known for his defensive skills behind the plate, Cash last played in the Major Leagues during the 2010 season. He retired after spending the 2011 season with Triple-A Round Rock in the Rangers organization. He earned two World Series rings, with the 2007 Red Sox and the 2009 Yankees.
Cash worked as an advance scout for the Blue Jays in 2012 and in ’13 he joined the Indians coaching staff, working as the team’s bullpen coach.
During his time with the Indians, Cash worked with Yan Gomes, and he is credited for helping Gomes improve his catching skills. He also received praise for helping Indians pitching coach — and former Tampa Bay pitcher — Mickey Callaway in his efforts with right-hander Carlos Carrasco. Cash does not have any managing experience.
The Rays identified 10 candidates for their vacant managerial post: Dave Martinez, Charlie Montoyo, Manny Acta, Ron Wotus, Don Wakamatsu, Raul Ibanez, Craig Counsell, Barry Larkin, Doug Glanville and Cash.
On Nov. 21, the Rays narrowed down the field by seven candidates to three: Cash, Ibanez and Wakamatsu. Ibanez dropped out on Thursday due to family issues, leaving the Rays to make their final call between Cash and Wakamatsu.