Some fans were perplexed when the Rays cut ties with Rene Rivera after a successful Grapefruit League run, but the rationale behind this decision is now clear. In lieu of needing a fifth starter until late in the season, Kevin Cash will take the 25th roster slot and become the team’s reserve catcher.
The news substantiates rumors from earlier this Spring that the Rays were considering carrying three catchers into this season.
Cash -- whose career included a brief stint with the Devil Rays, and two World Series rings while serving in a reserve catcher role -- boasts a career slash line of .183/.248/.278.
"I had retired because I didn’t think I could cut it offensively" said Cash at the press conference announcing this move. "But after seeing the production from the catcher position this team has been getting for the last two years, I figured I couldn’t do worse."
The ever efficiency conscious Rays note the benefits of having a manager behind the plate, where he can call the game without having to confer with the dugout.
President of Baseball Operations Matt Silverman is conferring with MLB and union officials to determine whether Cash’s manager salary covers his playing services as well, thus saving a salary. If they got a favorable response, expect to see player-coaches throughout the organization.
Indeed, there have been rumors that Tom Foley has been secretly participating in infield drills disguised as a minor leaguer wearing the number 98.
With this move, Cash joins the long line of catchers who have doubled as managers in baseball history, including Connie Mack, Ivey Wingo and John Clapp.
In a corresponding move, to mitigate his reluctance to ever wear a uniform, Cash will change his jersey number from 16 to "2%" and will be permitted to play in pajama pants.