Rays could favor internal candidate for bench coach job

Longtime Rays third-base coach Tom Foley could be a candidate to replace Dave Martinez as rookie manager Kevin Cash's bench coach. WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times
Longtime Rays third-base coach Tom Foley could be a candidate to replace Dave Martinez as rookie manager Kevin Cash's bench coach.WILL VRAGOVIC | Times
Published December 9 2014
Updated December 9 2014

SAN DIEGO — As the Rays seek to fill their bench coach position, they may end up further shuffling their coaching staff.

First, they have to decide what they're looking for, with discussions between new manager Kevin Cash and baseball operations president Matt Silverman and staff to this point more general than involving specific names.

Though it would seem that with a first-time manager, the Rays would want to add someone with managing experience to the staff, Silverman said that is not a prerequisite and they are more focused on someone who fits in and complements the current staff.

External candidates would be plentiful, but the Rays may be looking to go internal. That could include shifting longtime third-base coach Tom Foley to the bench job and/or considering Triple-A manager Charlie Montoyo, special assistant Rocco Baldelli or minor-league hitting coordinator Chad Mottola, a longtime Cash buddy, to fill the opening.

Cash said he spoke with most of the current coaches and was excited by what he heard, having worked as a player with Foley and assistant hitting coach Jamie Nelson.

While all are signed for 2015 and expected back, the return of first-base coach George Hendrick, who was a Joe Maddon hire and has contemplated retirement before, may be in question. And having an additional opening would make it easier to hire a Spanish-speaking coach, which they don't have after the departure of Dave Martinez.

JUST MANAGING: Details of Cash's multiyear deal have not been released, but the Tampa Bay Times has learned that he will not be the lowest paid manager in 2015, as has been speculated. Details of manager salaries are hard to come by, but that would mean an annual salary in excess of $600,000. There is also believed to be at least one option year in his deal. Maddon's first contract was for two years with a two-year option.

PERSONNEL DEPT.: Matt Joyce is said to be attracting more attention than David DeJesus as the Rays are talking with several teams about their outfield surplus. And Wil Myers appears to be at least a subject of discussion. Speaking about the group in general, Silverman said, "With some of the free agents coming off the board teams are more focused on the trade market to fill vacancies, so we've had more knocks on our door than we've had in the prior weeks." … In the search for a second catcher, Silverman said they've "been active" on both trade and free agent options and open-minded to both veteran and younger options.

MORE RAYS: The investigation of potential tampering by the Cubs in the hiring of Maddon remains ongoing. "It's an MLB matter, and they're handling it and I don't have any timetable for it," Silverman said. … Principal owner Stuart Sternberg joined team officials working in the Rays suite. … Minor-league coordinator Kyle Snyder appears to be the leading internal candidate for the open Triple-A pitching coach job. … Sports psychologist Ken Ravizza, a Maddon favorite who worked for the Rays last season and in 2009-10, said he is now a free agent. … Former Rays reliever Kyle Farnsworth, sporting a full beard, is on site seeking a job.

REST OF THE STORY: Former Rays RHP Jason Hammel is returning to the Cubs, signing a two-year, $20 million deal that includes an option. … The A's traded OF Brandon Moss to Cleveland for minor-league 2B Joe Wendle. … Amid conflicting reports that the Red Sox may be out, free-agent LHP Jon Lester is said to be close to a decision, with the Cubs and Giants the favorites. … The White Sox are reportedly close to acquiring RHP Jeff Samardzija from the A's. … The Hall of Fame veterans committee did not elect any of the 10 candidates on the "Golden Era" ballot, with Dick Allen and Tony Oliva falling one vote short.