Last night, Kevin Cash released the following statement regarding the hiring of Rocco Baldelli as the new Twins manager, and Charlie Montoyo for the same position with the Blue Jays:
“Charlie and Rocco are two quality individuals who have served the Rays organization for a long time. They build solid relationships with players, understand how to earn their trust and have impacted many players’ careers for the better. In the four years we spent together, they were both instrumental in helping me on a daily basis. Each one is very deserving of this opportunity, and I wish them well.”
These departures remove both bench coaches from the Rays dugout, as Baldelli was serving alongside Montoyo as the Major League Field Coordinator. They were important voices on the Rays bench that will need to be replaced, but that’s a silly statement. It’s hard to say there isn’t a key or important coach on the Rays staff. Every coach has proven to be instrumental and worthwhile.
As for what the Rays do next: it’s been part of the Rays M.O. to promote from within, so it is possible that Jared Sandberg could be brought up from Triple-A after three seasons in that role and a wave of prospects on the way up. Additionally, there has been some chatter of first base and assistant hitting coach Ozzie Timmons moving into the dugout in a role similar to what Rocco served, but that remains to be seen.
The Rays may also be interested in bringing aboard a native Spanish speaker after the departure of Montoyo, who is now the third Puerto Rican manager in the big leagues.
Whoever Cash hires, we can expect a great hire. The quality of Kevin Cash’s staff has been one of the worst kept secrets in baseball this season, particularly after the team rallied from its disastrous start in April and after Cash’s second consecutive appearance on the AL All-Star coaching staff.
It remains to be seen if Kevin Cash will be named Manager of the Year for the American League in the season he oversaw the implementation of The Opener and 90 wins, as he’ll face stiff competition from rookie manager Alex Cora in Boston or Oakland’s Bob Melvin who also did much with little this season, but I hope he’s at least a finalist. Cash is deserving of recognition.
Tampa Bay was able to reward Cash for his leadership with a massive contract extension, but it’s possible that every other member of his coaching staff could be in line for a managerial gig elsewhere, now or in the near future.
The same could also be said for some of the players, namely Matt Duffy. Every healthy tree bears good fruit, but Kevin Cash’s clubhouse appears to be a whole orchard.