The Tampa Bay Rays will reportedly extended Kevin Cash’s contract through the 2024 season with an option for 2025, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, and deservedly so.
The Rays surprised the baseball world when they hired Kevin Cash two years into his coaching career off of Terry Francona’s staff in December of 2014, despite no prior managing experience, and after three straight losing seasons under Cash, the Rays finally emerged as contenders in 2018, winning 90 games to bring his total record as a manager to 318-330 in what has been a breakout season for all involved.
Kevin Cash is considered to be one of the leading candidates for the American League Manager of the Year award, which will be announced in mid-November. His contract was set to expire following the 2019 season.
Under his tutelage this past season, the Rays pioneered ‘The Opener’ strategy, garnering praise from his peers across the league, and which other teams have started to employ as well. The Rays went from preseason cellar dwellers, following a winter full of massive changes to clear the Rays roster for a rebuild, to finishing just shy of the second Wild Card spot in late September.
It is a further testament to Cash’s ability as a manager that his staff are widely being considered for managerial openings around the league, with Field Coordinator Rocco Baldelli, Third Base Coach Matt Quatraro, and Bench Coach Charlie Montoyo already rumored in the first week following the regular season. His former hitting coach Derek Shelton, who was named the Twins Bench Coach for 2018, is also a leading candidate for the managing role in Minnesota.
Cash, at 40 years old, remains the youngest manager in MLB and is also now the longest tenured manager in the division. Should he stick with the Rays through the length of this contract extension, he’ll be the longest tenured manager in franchise history, surpassing Joe Maddon who served as Rays skipper from 2006 to 2014.
The Tampa Bay Rays have not made the move official as of yet.