Rays manager Kevin Cash met with reporters this morning at Tampa Bay’s end-of-season news conference. The two-time Manager of the Year addressed his future, quashing speculation he could consider leaving the team.
Cash said he’s “very happy” in Tampa Bay and “(looking) forward to next year, for sure” (relayed by Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times). He’s under contract for another season as part of an extension signed back in October 2018, with the club also holding an option for the ’25 campaign.
There’d been some speculation the 45-year-old could be on the Guardians’ radar as they look for candidates to replace Terry Francona. Veteran reporter Peter Gammons tweeted last week that some within the industry believe Francona preferred Cash, who spent the 2013-14 seasons on his staff as Indians’ bullpen coach, to be his successor in Cleveland. Topkin reports that the Guardians have not reached out to the Rays about the possibility of speaking with Cash, although he adds that Cleveland has checked in with Tampa Bay about an unidentified “former Rays employee” who is among the candidates for the job.
Cash’s comments, while not unexpected, more or less end the minimal chance he’d leave Tampa Bay. It certainly doesn’t seem as if the Rays are interested in making a change. President of baseball operations Erik Neander called this season “the best job (Cash has) ever done here,” as the team won 99 games despite losing Shane McClanahan, Jeffrey Springs and Drew Rasmussen to injury and placing Wander Franco on the restricted list in August. Topkin writes the club is likely to approach Cash about another extension during the offseason.
As a result of Francona’s retirement, Cash is now the longest-tenured active manager in the major leagues. He took over for Joe Maddon in December 2014. Tampa Bay is 739-614 (54.5% win percentage) in the regular season during his tenure, qualifying for the postseason in each of the last five years. They’ve advanced past the first round just once, securing the American League pennant in 2020 before falling to the Dodgers in the World Series. Cash finished top three in Manager of the Year balloting each season from 2018-21 and could well be a finalist again this year.