Kevin Cash recently completed his fourth season at the helm of the Tampa Bay Rays leading them to a double-digit improvement in wins for the second straight season as they finished third in the AL East with a 90-72 mark. Using an unorthodox "opener" concept by having relief pitchers begin games, Cash also set a team record with 17 different starting pitchers this season. The pitching staff ranked third in the majors with a 3.50 ERA and broke the major league record with 824 1/3 relief innings pitched.
Cash has a 318-330 record in his four seasons with Tampa Bay. During his tenure the Rays have spent less than any major league team over that span, but are 18th in winning percentage (.491). The Rays improved by 10 wins in 2018, and their 41-25 mark after the All-Star break was third best in the majors despite setting club records with 54 players, 31 pitchers and 23 rookies used this season.
He was named the fifth manager in Rays history on Dec 5, 2014 and turned 37 years old the next day…became the youngest manager in Rays history and remains the youngest major league manager since 2009, when A.J. Hinch piloted the Diamondbacks at the age of 34…he was the youngest to manage in the AL since 35-year-old Eric Wedge with the Indians in 2003... There were nine major leaguers older than Cash in 2017, and two of them-Carlos Beltrán and Bronson Arroyo-retired after the season... Owns a 228-258 (.469) record after his three seasons with the Rays, better than any Rays manager before him after the first three seasons… Lou Piniella was 200-285 after three seasons, Larry Rothschild was 201-284 and Joe Maddon was 224-262... Named to the 2017 AL All-Star Team coaching staff by Indians Manager Terry Francona, who then had to miss the event due to a medical procedure…Cash assisted Indians bench coach Brad Mills in managing the team…prior to Cash, the only managers to represent the Rays at the AllStar Game were Joe Maddon in 2009 (St. Louis) and Larry Rothschild in 2000 (Atlanta)... Is the sixth Tampa-born manager in major league history, and second to manage the Rays… that list includes Hall of Famers Al Lopez and Tony La Russa, Lou Piniella (for whom Cash played in 2005), Dave Miley and John Hart... Is the second Florida State University alumnus to manage the Rays, joining the franchise's first manager, Larry Rothschild... For two seasons (2013-14) before joining the Rays, served as the bullpen coach for the Indians under Terry Francona, whom he played for in Boston (2007-08, 2010)…in his two seasons there, with Cash and pitching coach Mickey Callaway in place, Indians pitchers posted the AL's 4th-best ERA at 3.69, just behind the Rays (3.65)…Indians pitchers also led the majors in strikeouts those two seasons and fanned a thenmajor-league-record 1,450 batters in 2014…Cash and Callaway were credited with assisting in improvements made by two-time AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Scott Kazmir and Ubaldo Jiménez... Finished his playing career in the Rangers organization in 2011 after playing the season with Triple-A Round Rock…after the minor league season, he served as an advance scout for the major league team for the rest of 2011 and was at Tropicana Field the night Evan Longoria hit his walk-off homer in "Game 162" to send the Rays to the ALDS vs. TEX... In 2012, he was a major league advance scout for the Blue Jays.
Played professionally for 12 seasons with six organizations from 2000-11, including parts of eight seasons in the major leagues with five different teams from 2002-10…played all but 20 games in his career with AL East teams… played for four of the five teams in the division… appeared in 241 games (189 starts), all at catcher... Caught two seasons in the Rays organization, including 13 games with the major league club in 2005…became the second former Devil Rays/ Rays player to manage in the major leagues, joining Ozzie Guillén (White Sox/Marlins)…this past offseason, Mickey Callaway (Mets), Gabe Kapler (Phillies) and Dave Martinez (Nationals) joined this group... Threw out 26.7 pct (43 of 161) of attempted base stealers in his career…the major league average during his career was 24.4 pct... Started for the U.S. team in the Futures Game in Milwaukee in 2002 and later that year was a September call up by Toronto... Delivered his first major league hit on Sep 11, 2002 at CLE, a single off Dave Burba…his first home run came the next season on Sep 27 vs. CLE off Terry Mulholland... Was in the Opening Day lineup for the Blue Jays in 2004 and started a career-high 50 games… was the Jays regular catcher until mid-May, when he went on the disabled list with a rib injury…returned in June and served as a backup to Gregg Zaun the rest of the season…threw out 42.4 pct. (14 of 33) of attempted base stealers, 4th best among major league catchers (min. 50 starts)... Acquired by the Devil Rays from the Blue Jays for Chad Gaudin at the 2004 Winter Meetings in Anaheim…was up with the Devil Rays in 2005 for 39 days (June 13-July 22) replacing veteran Charles Johnson, who was released…homered in his first at-bat as a Ray, and remains one of 14 who have done that…it came on June 15 vs. MIL off Victor Santos…in that same game, he caught Hideo Nomo's 200th career win, automatically qualifying Nomo for Meikyukai, one of Japan's two baseball halls of fame…of his 5 hits as a Ray, two were home runs…Cash's only other homer as a Devil Ray came off Hall of Famer Randy Johnson on June 21 at NYY in a 20-11 loss... Was on the 40-man roster for former Rays Manager Joe Maddon's first spring training camp in 2006, but spent the entire season at Triple-A Durham and never played for Joe… signed a minor league contract with the Red Sox after the season... Received World Series rings from the 2007 Red Sox and 2009 Yankees…joined the Red Sox for the last six weeks of the 2007 season when catcher Doug Mirabelli went on the disabled list…was on the Red Sox ALDS postseason roster, but didn't play... Started 42 games for the Red Sox in 2008 including all 30 of Tim Wakefield's starts…homered in Game 4 of the ALCS vs. the Rays at Fenway Park off Andy Sonnanstine…was in the visitors' dugout at Tropicana Field when the Rays clinched the AL pennant with a 3-1 win in Game 7…was up with the Yankees for two weeks in 2009 (May 12-27) and appeared in 10 games while Jorge Posada was on the disabled list... In his last major league season in 2010, he was traded from the Astros back to the Red Sox on July 1 when catchers Jason Varitek and Victor Martinez went on the disabled list…in the final major league start of his career on Oct 2 vs. NYY, he played a key role in a Red Sox win that helped propel the eventual AL East champion Rays into a first-place tie with the Yankees with one game to play…his bases-loaded walk in the 8th inning tied the game that was eventually won, 7-6, by the Red Sox in 11 innings…while with the Astros, he pitched one inning on May 28 at CIN in a 15-6 loss... Hit his last major league home run on June 13, 2010 at NYY for the Astros…it came off Phil Hughes, who made the All-Star Team that season and won 18 games.
On Aug 7, 1999-the same day Wade Boggs delivered his 3,000th career hit at Tropicana Field-he signed as an non-drafted free agent with the Blue Jays…he then worked with Ernie Whitt to develop his craft behind the plate... Played infield in high school and college…played three seasons at Florida State University…his junior year (1999), hit .317/.430/.536 (80-for-252) with 14 HR and 58 RBI, earning second team All-ACC honors…named Most Valuable Player of the Tallahassee Regional in the 1999 College World Series... Kevin was undrafted out of FSU in 1999…after the season, he spent the summer with the Falmouth Commodores in the Cape Cod League, where he was named the team's Most Valuable Player…that summer he went to Manager Jeff Trundy and volunteered to move from infielder to catcher after illness and injury sidelined the team's two catchers…Kevin threw out two baserunners in his first inning behind the plate, and the position switch stuck... At FSU, he played in the first-ever Devil Rays game, a spring exhibition at Al Lang Field on Feb 26, 1998…Cash played first base for FSU and went 0-for-2 in the Devil Rays 6-3 win... His roommate at FSU was J.D. Drew…the two reunited with the Red Sox in 2007, 2008 and 2010…was also a college teammate of Matt Diaz, who was selected by the Rays in the 17th round of the 1999 June Draft... Graduated from Gaither High School in North Tampa, where he was All-State in 1996 under coach Frank Permuy, who retired in 2014 after 31 years at the school…was cut from the school's fall team his sophomore season.