Marc Topkin's sunday feature in the Tampa Bay Times profiles the life of new Rays manager Kevin Cash, whose most recent chapter is a homecoming to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Cash is described as a player and a person who has a veracious hunger to learn, which is a sort of theme throughout his baseball career for the people who knew him. Even his mother is quoted on his advanced knowledge and eagerness to learn at a young age. He was never afraid to ask why.
Something peppered throughout the profile is also Cash's championship pedigree, having contributed to several teams in some capacity that reached or won a World Series title. He was on teams featured in the Little League World Series -- playing barely a mile away from his house for the Tampa based Northside Little League team, he reached the 1998 and 1999 College World Series as an infielder for the Florida State Seminoles, and earned rings for his contributions to the 2007 Red Sox and 2009 Yankees after his days with the Rays in 2005.
It should come as no surprise then that it's the work ethic of Cash that has stood out most of all. Even before spring training starts, Kevin Cash is working out at the Trop with the players, throwing endless batting practice sessions (not much unlike what his Father, Mike Cash, did with Kevin as a little leaguer), and constantly talking with coaches and players on what to work on in the off-season.
Yes, it is Cash's job to do all those things, but he seems to be a positive influence, a players coach, and relentless.
Kevin Cash is home again, and it's time for the next chapter to begin.
- Topkin also talked about Joe Maddon's confidence in new manager Kevin Cash over the weekend, and what he thinks of the Rays' off-season moves since his departure. He also mentioned the similar challenges he and Cash face with managing a new team.
- MLB Network ranked Longoria number 8 on their "Top 10 Third Basemen Right Now!" with Adrian Beltre, Josh Donaldson and Josh Harrison were in the top 3. Longoria finished one spot ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers' Juan Uribe, and one spot behind the St. Louis Cardinals' Matt Carpenter.
MLB Network's Top 10 Right Now! series is hosted by Brian Kenny with contributing analysis from Boston Red Sox senior advisor of baseball operations and renowned sabermetrician Bill James, President of SABR Vince Gennaro and FanGraphs writer Mike Petriello.
- Do you think the Royals should've sent Alex Gordon around third in Game 7 of the World Series? The Kansas City Star set off to find out using a college team to re-enact the fateful play.
- David Schoenfield says that Drew Smyly could be a sleeper Cy Young Candidate for 2015. He notes that although Smyly posted better numbers after being traded to the Rays, the .184 BABIP probably isn't sustainable due to a small sample size. Schoenfield also wonders if the Rays have found a new market inefficiency to exploit: high fastballs.
- Our friends at the AZ Snake Pit discuss whether or not the Diamondbacks are an analytical club, and if baseball saber-metrics should be considered for in game managerial decisions over "trusting your gut".
In honor of Valentine's Day over the weekend:
BASEBALL IS ALMOST HERE!