Friday, November 16, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Double play: Rays lose Rocco Baldelli, Charlie Montoyo to manager jobs

LOS ANGELES — Manager Kevin Cash always praised his players first for the unexpected success the Rays had this season, but he would often make mention of the effort and contribution made by his reconfigured coaching staff.

Other teams took notice.

And Thursday, the Rays lost two of those coaches for good reasons as field coordinator Rocco Baldelli was named manager of the Twins and a few hours later bench coach Charlie Montoyo was hired to manage the Blue Jays.

How the Rays replace them, whether they look to minor-league coaching staffs, an ex-player in the front office or go outside the organization, will have to wait.

Thursday was about seeing Montoyo, who started in the organization as a minor-league manager in 1997, and Baldelli, their 2000 first-round pick as an outfielder, go on to bigger things after joining the Rays staff in 2015.

"Charlie and Rocco are two quality individuals who have served the Rays organization for a long time,'' Cash said in a statement. "They build solid relationships with players, understand how to earn their trust and have impacted many players' careers for the better. In the four years we spent together they were both instrumental in helping me on a daily basis. Each one is very deserving of this opportunity, and I wish them well."

The Rays could be about to lose another key person, as senior vice president Chaim Bloom is one of two remaining candidates for the Mets general manager job. Former Brewers/Rangers GM Doug Melvin was eliminated Thursday, according to multiple reports.

Bloom issued a short statement through the Mets acknowledging his Wednesday interview with owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon, saying they had "a productive meeting" and "enjoyed" their time together, declining to do a conference call interview in deference to his current role with the Rays.

Baldelli, 37, wasn't thinking about pursuing a managing job until he unexpectedly emerged as the hottest candidate on the market, interviewing with all five teams that were looking (also the Angels, Reds and Rangers).

He said it wasn't until talking with the Twins brass and learning more about the organization that he felt it could work. Other things he said suggested the Twins' job became his top choice, and he got a three-year deal.

As much as Baldelli's loyalty to the Rays made it tough to consider leaving (or even interviewing elsewhere) — he had spent all but one year of his adult life working for them — the support he got from the front office and the advice and counsel from Cash made it somehow easier.

"It was very, very emotional," Baldelli said by phone after his introductory news conference. "There were some tears involved. But at the end of day I'm very, very excited, and I know that I made the right decision. I'm a Twin. This is an opportunity of a lifetime, and I believe that.''

The Twins said there were a lot of reasons to pick Baldelli, citing the value of leadership and communication and having a partnership with the manager.

"I don't think I could have envisioned a scenario where we could have found a better partner than Rocco Baldelli,'' chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said in Minneapolis. "He's a special person. Everyone in this room will get to know that over time. He's someone who is focused on growth development, open-mindedness and communication.''

Montoyo, 53, had interviewed a handful of times previously, including for the Rays job that went to Cash in 2015 and earlier this month with the Reds.

He was a late addition to the Jays field after reports of a final five being chosen, but he obviously impressed enough to get a three-year deal. His hiring was announced Thursday with his introduction on Monday.

Toronto president Mark Shapiro in a release cited Montoyo's "warmth, authenticity, and extensive experience'' as well as his "collaborative nature" in leading. GM Ross Atkins noted Montoyo's passion for the game and "superior ability to connect and relate" and have "an overwhelmingly positive influence" on players and staff.''

Montoyo, in the release, said he was "honored and humbled" for the "amazing opportunity.''

Baldelli said getting the Twins job and having Montoyo, one of his "best friends in the world," get hired in Toronto, made for "one of the happiest days" of his life. "There's no way to explain to you the feeling I have inside,'' he said.

If the Rays look to fill the positions internally, candidates could include minor-league managers Jared Sandberg, Brady Williams, Craig Albernaz, plus  field coordinator Michael Johns. They likely will talk first about reshaping the roles. Baldelli also worked with outfielders; Montoyo with infielders.

They are not likely to lose any other coaches as new managers typically don't bring along  staffers from their previous organization.

Contact Marc Topkin at [email protected]

Comments
Cubs/ex-Rays manager Joe Maddon again helping Tampa Bay area homeless with Thanksmas events

Cubs/ex-Rays manager Joe Maddon again helping Tampa Bay area homeless with Thanksmas events

Maddon and his Respect 90 Foundation will provide PDQ meals, backpacks and socks at several area centers.
Updated: 11 hours ago
Rays Cy Young winner Blake Snell shares a secret to his success

Rays Cy Young winner Blake Snell shares a secret to his success

Blake Snell had special thanks for Kyle Snyder, who has been his pitching coach and confidant at several levels.
Published: 11/15/18
What they’re saying about Rays Blake Snell winning the AL Cy Young award

What they’re saying about Rays Blake Snell winning the AL Cy Young award

Here was the scene at Blake Snell's house in Seattle when they got news of his victory:The moment @snellzilla4 and his crew got the #CyYoung news. pic.twitter.com/iIukJZlHL5— MLB (@MLB) November 14, 2018Here is what some of Snell's teammates ha...
Published: 11/15/18
10 things about Rays Blake Snell’s Cy Young winning season

10 things about Rays Blake Snell’s Cy Young winning season

LHP Blake Snell accomplished a lot in his remarkable 2018 breakout season. And wining the American League Cy Young award on Wednesday added to that list:* He became the second Ray win the most prestigious pitching award, joining David Price, who did ...
Published: 11/15/18
Times baseball writer Marc Topkin talks about ‘Twenty Years of Rays Baseball’ book

Times baseball writer Marc Topkin talks about ‘Twenty Years of Rays Baseball’ book

Covering the team long before it played its first game gave him the background to become the Rays’ historian.
Published: 11/15/18
That Kate Upton tweet you’ve been waiting for on Blake Snell winning AL Cy Young award

That Kate Upton tweet you’ve been waiting for on Blake Snell winning AL Cy Young award

Model/actress Kate Upton had plenty to say in 2016 when then fiance Justin Verlander missed out on winning the AL Cy Young award due in part to the votes of the two Tampa Bay writers, posting an extraordinarily profane, and extremely memorable, tweet...
Published: 11/14/18
Updated: 11/15/18
Rays’ Blake Snell wins AL Cy Young award

Rays’ Blake Snell wins AL Cy Young award

ST. PETERSBURG – Blake Snell first started thinking about it at the end of last season, then more as spring training drew near. He shared first with teammate Chris Archer on the phone, then later with Rays pitching coach Kyle Snyder over a Janu...
Published: 11/14/18
Rays coaching update: Linares may be in, Sandberg in talks

Rays coaching update: Linares may be in, Sandberg in talks

The Rays are closing in on hiring a third-base coach, with longtime Astros minor-league coach/manager Rodney Linares the leading candidate.Discussions remaining ongoing to fill the other opening on the staff for a major-league field coordinator, with...
Published: 11/14/18
What it means if Blake Snell wins Cy Young award

What it means if Blake Snell wins Cy Young award

If Rays LHP Blake Snell wins the Cy Young* He will be the second Ray to do so, matching David Price in 2012, and also join Price as second from an AL East team in the last 15 years.* He will be the youngest, at 25, since Clayton Kershaw (25) in 2013 ...
Published: 11/14/18
The interesting past of Justin Verlander, Cy Young and Tampa Bay

The interesting past of Justin Verlander, Cy Young and Tampa Bay

Rays LHP Blake Snell and Astros RHP Justin Verlander are the top candidates for the AL Cy Young award that will be announced Wednesday night.The last intersection between Verlander and Tampa Bay, in 2016, got a little, well, racy.Verlander, then with...
Published: 11/14/18