Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash just notched his 500th win as Rays manager. He has reached that milestone faster than any other manager in Ray’s history.
But is Kevin Cash the best manager in Ray’s history?
It’s hard to believe that Cash has only been at the helm of the Rays since 2015.
Cash has had just two losing seasons since taking over as manager of the Rays. Those were his first two seasons in Tampa, when the Rays were 80-82, and 68-94, respectively.
The Rays had been a struggling franchise since their debut in 1998 when Joe Maddon took over and within three years turned the Rays into winners.
Maddon would manage the Rays nine seasons until 2015 when he opted out of his contract to take over as manager of the Chicago Cubs.
Maddon had a 754-705 record with the Rays for a .517 win percentage in nine seasons. Maddon also took the Rays to their first World Series in 2008.
The Rays lost in the ALDS in 2010, 2011, and 2013 under Maddon’s leadership.
The Rays had been perennial losers before Madden took over as manager. Madden changed the losing culture in Tampa and had the Rays in the World Series in his third season as manager.
After Maddon left Tampa to manage the Chicago Cubs, the Rays hired Cleveland Indians bullpen coach Kevin Cash to be their new manager.
Cash just notched his 500th win as Ray’s manager and has led the Rays to three consecutive winning seasons. Cash has a 501-447 as Ray’s manager and a .527 win percentage.
Cash just led the Rays franchise to their second World Series appearance in 2020. In 2019, the Rays lost to Houston in the ALDS.
The Rays are currently 47-31 and are on pace for another 96 win season, which should put the Rays in the playoffs for the third straight season, a first for the franchise.
Cash talked about the milestone after the 4-3 win against the LA Angels.
“It’s special. This is a special job to have. I’m so appreciative of the people I get to work with, and certainly the players. You get these wins because of the talent you have.”
It was ironic that Cash notched the 500th win of his career against the Angels. Joe Maddon is now the Angels manager and is the all-time leader in wins for the Rays with 754.
Cash should put another 50 wins on his ledger this season, and the way the Rays are built, Cash could surpass Madden as the franchise leader in manager wins in late 2022 or early 2023.
So who is the Best manager in Rays History?
Joe Maddon established a winning culture in Tampa.
Kevin Cash changed the game through his use of the opener strategy and his use of analytics. Although his use of analytics possibly cost the Rays a World Series title with his pulling of Blake Snell in game six of the World Series.
Both Joe Maddon and Kevin Cash have won and been successful with different styles of managing.
Cash represented the new breed of manager when he took over as Ray’s manager in 2015. He brings a different energy to the clubhouse and can relate very well to the younger baseball players.
Cash continues to get the most out of the Rays roster. Cash and GM Erik Neander have formed a great partnership to build the best roster and get the most out of the Rays roster with limited financial resources.
Both managers have contributed to the overall success of the franchise. Maddon changed the losing culture, while Cash has enhanced and built upon what Maddon started in Tampa.
What Cash has done is get every player on the roster to buy into what the Rays have to do to win games. If it’s facing one batter every game as a pitcher or going into the game as a late-inning defensive replacement, the players in the clubhouse have bought into the philosophy of doing whatever it takes to win games. That is the Rays way. This strategy is different than most big-league clubs but has worked out well for the Rays.
Yes, Kevin Cash is the best manager in Ray’s history. Cash just signed a contract extension to stay in Tampa through the 2024 season, which all but ensures that he will pass Joe Maddon and become the all-time leader in wins for the Rays.