Kevin Cash would be perfect Red Sox manager — too bad it won't happen

John Tomase
·2 min read

Tomase: Too bad Sox can't Cash in with next managerial hire originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

It's a question on the mind of more than one Red Sox fan, judging from Twitter: if the team is looking for a Kevin Cash type to replace Ron Roenicke as manager, why not just hire Kevin Cash away from Tampa?

The answer is easy. He's in the middle of a long-term contract and almost certainly isn't going anywhere.

The Cash questions make sense, because Chaim Bloom was a member of the Rays front office when they hired the former Red Sox catcher in 2015 to become their rookie manager at age 37. All Cash has done since is establish himself as one of the best managers in baseball, leading the Rays to 90 and 96 wins in 2018 and 2019, and then a 40-20 record this year that's the best in the American League and projects to 108 wins over a full season.

He has done it by pioneering concepts like the opener, starting the first all-left-handed lineup in history against Red Sox righty Andrew Triggs, and winning within the framework of Tampa's small-market payroll. He'd be a natural fit for Boston, thanks to his experience here as a player, his familiarity with Bloom, and his understanding of sabermetrics.

But days after the completion of the 2018 season, the Rays ripped up the final year of Cash's original five-year, $5 million contract and signed him to an extension through 2024 with an option for 2025. If he completes that deal, he will surpass Joe Maddon as the longest-tenured manager in franchise history.

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"Obviously my family and I are thrilled and incredibly humbled,'' Cash told the Tampa Times the day he signed. "I don't know if surprised is the right word, or flattered that they were willing to give me that long of a deal.

"This shows the long-term commitment from the Rays in wanting to see this through and continue to get the organization back to where it was in (the playoff years of) 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013.''

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There's no reason for the Rays to grant the Red Sox permission to speak to Cash, and it's hard to see his motivation for wanting to leave a contender and World Series favorite for what's shaping up to be a lengthy rebuild in Boston, even with the latter's clear financial advantages.

Now Tampa bench coach and Cash's right-hand man Matt Quatraro? Maybe that's a different story . . .