Kevin Cash has been named to his second All-Star game, this time by AL Manager A.J. Hinch of the Houston Astros. Perhaps no one is more deserving of recognition in Tampa Bay than him.
Known for his wry sense of humor, Cash has already quipped that he was added due to his extended bullpen management experience, but as with all jokes it’s funny because there is a hint of truth. And to that end, Hinch agreed:
“He’s done a tremendous job,” Hinch said of Cash. “I joked with him he’s got a ton of experience handling nine pitchers a game, so that’s a point in his favor when it comes to inviting another manager. Good guy, good baseball guy who has grown into his job. He’s been at it about the same time I’ve been in this job, and it’s nice to reward him with a trip to D.C.”
Cash has received praise from his peers across the baseball spectrum this season. A forward thinking manager like Hinch has endorsed him with this nomination, but even old-school baseball people like Baltimore’s Buck Showalter have taken note of his ability to manage through the storm of so many pitching injuries with innovations like the Opener.
Furthermore, while there will always be debate about how much of a role the manager plays in a team’s win-loss record, there is little doubt that some of the credit for the Rays ability to at least tread water in 2018 goes to Cash. We’ve seen the team goes through highs and lows of performance this season while battling one injury after another. If the team didn’t split at the seams during the abysmal April run of losses it is thanks to Cash’s ability as a manager.
Italian football manager Giovanni Trapattoni once famously said, “A good manager makes a team 10% better and a bad manager makes it 30% worse,” and that may well hold true across sports.
This season has made apparent that Cash’s positive influence has impacted the team on and off the field. It’s probably no coincidence in that Cash had the opportunity to name his own staff this year; previously he had worked with Joe Maddon’s remaining crew.
Cash had been plucked from obscurity by the Rays when they named him manager (for the first time in his career) back in 2015, which meant the Rays incurred something of a learning curve as he learned the ropes.
With this nomination, we can officially say Kevin Cash is beyond the learning curve and officially a top flight major league manager.
Cash previously coached in the 2017 All-Star game, stepping in as the final staff member when his former coaching mentor Terry Francona required an extended medical leave.