Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Fennelly: Time for Cash, Silverman to show Rays progress

ST. PETERSBURG — Attended the Rays' 94-loss autopsy on Tuesday. Kept looking at manager Kevin Cash as he shared the podium with president of baseball operations Matt Silverman. Baseball's postseason began Tuesday night, but for the third time in as many seasons, and for the second season under Cash, this team's meter ran out.

Cash stared at the microphone. He sometimes looked and sounded slightly beaten.

When he came off the podium, he smiled and said he wasn't beaten at all.

"I'm (ticked)," Cash said. "I think Matt and I are going to take three or four days here, be (ticked) then start getting positive again. I'm (ticked). That's fine. Write that. It's not bad breaks. You make your own breaks."

Spoken like a man, a very good man, who knows the deal heading into next season. Third year. It's the money season. It either gets better or worse, and Cash will have a hard time not paying for it if it's worse. The clock is beginning to tick. Not loudly, but it's ticking.

"Without a doubt, it's time to win," Cash said.

"He needs better players," Silverman said. "That's on us. That's on me. That's on the front office."


Clock is ticking on Silverman, too.

No one gets a pass.

Cash said, "I shoulder a lot of it. There's 30 of these (jobs) in baseball. It's our responsibility — my responsibility — to do whatever you can to create a winning atmosphere, a positive atmosphere. I think we've created the positive atmosphere. We haven't got to the winning that we're capable of.''

Cash is a wonderful guy, a smart guy. But the Rays haven't broken through. Injuries didn't help. Bad starting pitching didn't help. That roster doesn't help. But neither do excuses. Cash knows it.

"I'm tired of losing."

He is following the toughest act going: Joe Maddon, the new Mahatma. Then again, there were doomsayers who thought Maddon was in over his head after he lost 96 games in 2007, his second season as Rays manager. The Rays made the World Series in Maddon's third year. Money season.

Cash doesn't need to match that, but this club has to be better next season. Cash said he has to be better, too.

"I can be more decisive. Some of those one-run losses, those are on me. Pulling the pitcher earlier instead of letting him stay out there, or pulling the pitcher early and leaning on the bullpen too much. I overworked Erasmo Ramirez the first six weeks of the season. We would have been a better team if we'd balanced that out. But he was so good and we were thin, so that's what we did."

More decisive. It's a good idea. Rise up, or go down, swinging.

I'd look for a more assertive Cash next season. I think he won his share of discussions with the front office this season. I bet he was convinced Brad Miller wasn't an everyday shortstop long before the Rays, as a collective, decided to move Miller to first base. When Cash wanted Tim Beckham demoted to Durham, Beckham was gone. These might have been small victories for a manager who needs to stake a claim going into next season.

Silverman insists that Cash is his own man. But maybe Cash was so busy forging relationships with players that he went along with them too much. He needs to let it rip and be himself.

Something like: You play. I'll manage.

Expect a change. Same strong communication, but a stronger voice on Cash's end.

Maybe Tuesday was a start.

"There's a difference between a season wearing you out and you being (ticked)." Cash said.


And tick tock.

Fennelly: Time for Cash, Silverman to show Rays progress 10/04/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 4, 2016 8:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Cue the Scott Frost to Nebraska speculation


    Nebraska shook up the college sports world Thursday afternoon when it fired athletic director Shawn Eichorst.

    And that should scare UCF fans.

  2. USF defense feeds on Temple offense to take NCAA interceptions lead


    TAMPA — Backed up in his end zone, Temple quarterback Logan Marchi scrambled, trying to elude a USF defensive end coming straight for him. Until then, Marchi hadn't had much luck hitting his receivers.

    South Florida Bulls safety Devin Abraham (20) sacks Temple Owls quarterback Logan Marchi (12) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, September 21, 2017.
  3. No. 21 USF Bulls roll over Temple to stay undefeated


    TAMPA — They emerged from Raymond James Stadium's southwest tunnel on the 11-month anniversary of their public humiliation at Temple.

    Bulls tailback Darius Tice, who rushes for 117 yards, is elated by his 47-yard run for a touchdown in the second quarter for a 10-0 lead.
  4. Fennelly: USF thrashes Temple to stay unbeaten; too bad not many saw it in person



    No. 21 USF ran its record to 4-0 Thursday night with some payback against Temple, a 43-7 trouncing, no contest, as if anyone cares, at least judging by the paltry crowd at Raymond James Stadium. Where was everybody?

    Bulls cornerback Deatrick Nichols (3) celebrates with teammates after making a defensive play during the first half.
  5. Former Ray Tim Beckham's over being traded, or is he?

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — As the Rays reunited Thursday with Tim Beckham for the first time since he was dealt July 31 to Baltimore, it became very clear that not everything in assessing the trade is as it appears.

    Tim Beckham, here in action Monday against the Red Sox, has hit .310, with 10 homers and 26 RBIs since going to the Orioles.