ST. PETERSBURG – The Rays and manager Kevin Cash have finalized a deal on a multiyear extension that puts him under contract through 2024, the Tampa Bay Times has learned. The team has since confirmed and announced the deal.
Cash, 40, had one year left on his original five-year $5-million contract signed going into 2015, plus a two-year option. With some restructuring of those terms and the new deal, he is now signed for six years, with an option for 2025. Financial terms were not available, though a raise is certain.
The agreement was finalized in the last few days.
"Obviously my family and I are thrilled and incredibly humbled,'' Cash told the Times this morning. "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.''
In the release from the team, principal owner Stuart Sternberg said: "Kevin's abilities, leadership and character have exceeded our lofty expectations. I look forward to having him and his family a part of our organization for the years ahead."
Also, GM Erik Neander said: "We couldn't be happier with the impact that Kevin has made on our organization, an impact that extends well beyond our major league club. We're thankful for this stability and the many advantages that it provides, especially the opportunity to continue learning and improving together."
Cash impressively led the Rays to 90 wins this season, dealing with a winter/spring purge of veterans from the roster, injuries to several key pitchers, introduction and implementation of the unorthodox opener pitching strategy, additional July trades and transitioning to a core of young players.
Cash received considerable praise around the game for his work, and is expected to finish in the top three in the American League Manager of the Year voting. Players lauded his strong communication skills and how he created a relaxed environment for them.
"What our guy has done has been as difficult a job that's been asked of a manager and then delivering. … (and) been incredibly successful,'' Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg said in September. "He's found a way through a lot of turmoil, a lot of change, and has been just a gem.''
Cash was hired with no previous managing experience (and only two years as a coach) after the October 2014 departure of Joe Maddon, and has compiled a 318-330 record. In each of the last two seasons, the Rays had the most wins of an AL team that didn't make the playoffs.
Cash goes into 2019 as the most senior AL East manager, matching Houston's A.J. Hinch for fourth most tenured in the AL, and Hinch and Maddon (now with the Cubs) for sixth in the majors. If Cash stays through 2024 he will be longest serving manager in Rays history, surpassing Maddon's nine years.
Cash said he got the sense the Rays were thinking long term last off-season when they made several coaching changes to assemble a staff he felt was best suited to the situation.
General manager Erik Neander approached him in September and said they hoped to work something out shortly after the end of the season, and did so without much discussion needed.
The Tampa native played parts of eight seasons in the majors, including 2005 with the Devil Rays, during a 12-year pro career. He retired after playing with Texas' Triple-A team in 2011, spent one year as a scout for the Blue Jays then 2013-14 as the Indians bullpen coach.
Cash and his wife, Emily, have three kids, Camden, Ella and J.D., and live in Tampa.
This story will be updated.