Kevin Cash, Rays Reportedly Agree to Contract Extension Through 2024 Season

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistOctober 9, 2018

Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash before a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves Wednesday, May 9, 2018, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

The Tampa Bay Rays and manager Kevin Cash have reportedly agreed to a contract extension through the 2024 season.

According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Cash had one year remaining on his original five-year contract, plus two option years. As part of the new deal, the Rays will have an option for 2025 as well.

The Rays were one of Major League Baseball's most surprising teams this season, as they finished third in the competitive AL East at 90-72.

In four seasons as Tampa's manager, the 40-year-old Cash owns a 318-330 (.491) record.

While the Rays went just 68-94 in 2016, they went 80-82 in both 2015 and 2017 before finally breaking through with a winning season in 2018.

Winning 90 games was impressive, considering Tampa Bay parted ways with several key players prior to the 2018 campaign.

First baseman Logan Morrison and starting pitcher Alex Cobb left in free agency, reliever Brad Boxberger and outfielder Steven Souza Jr. were traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks, third baseman Evan Longoria was traded to the San Francisco Giants, starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi was traded to the Minnesota Twins and outfielder Corey Dickerson was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Tampa also traded former ace Chris Archer to the Pirates during the season.

Even so, Cash managed to make the most of an unheralded roster led by potential Cy Young-winning starting pitcher Blake Snell. The 25-year-old left-hander went 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA, but he was one of only two Rays to throw at least 100 innings.

Meanwhile, aside from designated hitter C.J. Cron and his 30 home runs, no other Rays player hit as many as 15 homers.

Cash often got creative with his lineups, but he also may have changed the way managers will approach pitching for many years to come.

Instead of using a starting pitcher to open a game, Cash often began with a reliever dubbed an "opener," who would give way to a long reliever after one or two innings.

That allowed the Rays to get a platoon advantage at times, and the unorthodox method worked well for a team that was short on overall pitching talent.

The Rays haven't reached the playoffs since 2013, but the lengthy extension is a vote of confidence that Cash is the manager capable of getting them back to the postseason.

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